A Party to Die For: Talia Tucker-L’Whor’s Murder Mystery Nights

As someone who describes herself as a “fashion clown,” it’s only fitting that drag queen Talia Tucker dragged L’Whor (aka Tucker Ellsworth) for the first time on April 1.

“April first was my fourth [drag] birthday. The surprise on my parents’ face when it turned out not to be April Fools’ Day!” she recalls with a laugh.

The Denver resident has performed in the city for the past four years, but 2022 looks set to be her biggest year yet. Last fall, Tucker L’Whor introduced a series of murder mystery nights at Middleman, where attendees were instructed to come as a particular character, complete with outfit suggestions, personality traits, and outrageous backstories. For two hours, the onlookers interrogate each other to solve a series of murders, led by Tucker L’Whor. The murder mystery nights have been a huge success and are constantly selling out, and now she hosts them in four different locations.

Tucker L'Whor hosts a murder mystery night in Middleman.  - NOSFERATUNE

Tucker L’Whor hosts a murder mystery night in Middleman.

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“Bring your courtesy,” Tucker L’Whor hints, “and by the end of the night three of you will be dead.”

Although she originally started her drag career with a different stage name, she changed it in 2020 to close the gap between her drag persona and life that got out of hand. “I felt very Jekyll and Hyde-esque, like, ‘Here’s my persona for the day and this is my persona for the night.’ I wanted something more me,” she says. “So Talia comes from ‘Thalia’, the Greek muse of comedy. And Tucker is my name, and I stop too, so it’s a cute little pun.”

The 26-year-old added “L’Whor” to her drag name last year when she was adopted by fellow Denver drag queen Jessica L’Whor. “She has always been a very big supporter and leading figure,” she says of her mentor. “She has given me a lot of really essential tips in my life.”

Tucker L’Whor describes her drag, in one word, as “delusional.”

“Usually that’s how I imagine myself on stage,” she says. “Talia is funny, fashionable, delusional, quirky and a bit of a clown. But I think I’m trying to push my rut into a fashion clown realm. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fall flat on my face, but it’s all supposed to be on the journey.”

While Tucker L’Whor does perform in classic drag classics like brunches and bingos, she prefers to come up with her own unique show concepts for her hosting performances. With her murder mystery nights, she aims to provide drag entertainment in a brand new, interactive format. She originally conceived the idea during the pandemic and staged her first murder mystery with her quarantine bubble.

Can you survive a murder mystery with Talia?  - NOSFERATUNE

Can you survive a murder mystery with Talia?

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“In the heat of the lockdown, I was lucky enough to live in an adult dormitory. It’s a really cute house and there are seven apartments, so we did a lot of events together,” she explains. “One of the events I wanted to promote was a murder mystery party, and I looked online and found a murder mystery plot from Murders Incorporated. The person she writes, her name is Chelsea Opfer – she’s exceptional. So we downloaded the basic one, that is a 1920s murder mystery, and I ran it with the whole house, eighteen people in all.” All the participants had a blast and Tucker L’Whor knew the party idea had potential on a grander scale.

Tucker L’Whor presented her concept of murder mystery at all the different locations in the city. “In the case of the murder mysteries, I emailed over thirty locations. Over a two-month period, I sat down on my break from work and emailed every location within a twenty-mile radius. Until one day I took a day off from work to go to any location I could think of and just walked in and said ‘I want to speak to your manager, this is my idea, this is what I have.’ Despite being said no so often, there had to be some degree of delusion,” she says. “The responses ranged from ‘No thanks, I’ll get back to you, maybe when the pandemic is over’ to ‘No, we don’t do that here’.”

Unlike most drag entertainers, Tucker L’Whor specifically sought out gay-friendly, kinky spaces rather than LGBTQ+ bars and clubs. “I was really just sticking to related spaces. The thing is, there are so many talented drag artists in Denver and Colorado in general, to such an extent that so many queer venues, the specifically gay and lesbian venues, are very full” , she said. explains. “I wanted to go in a direction that would be different from the usual drag show venue.”

Tickets for the murder mystery nights usually sell out about a week before the event.  - NOSFERATUNE

Tickets for the murder mystery nights usually sell out about a week before the event.

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One location eventually responded positively: the East Colfax cocktail bar Middleman. Tucker L’Whor hosted her first murder mystery night in Middleman last September, using the original 1920s Prohibition plan, and has been offering them on a consistent basis ever since.

Preparation for the murder mystery night begins a week or two in advance, when participants receive an email detailing their character’s name, occupation, backstory, and involvement in the murder plot. And everyone goes wild with their costumes. When I attended the first night in September, I played the glamorous socialite’s fed up, gossiping chick (French maid uniform and all). As other characters perished, clues such as newspaper clippings and secret letters were distributed to solve their murders. After Tucker L’Whor revealed the culprits at the end of the night, she handed out awards for Best Costume, Most In Character and Closest Guess.

Our “cast” that night happened to include two additional drag queens, Whorechata as a money-hungry trophy wife and Venus Victrola as a mob boss, so naturally they snagged Best Costume and Most In Character. And when Tucker L’Whor decided to write her own Clue-themed murder mystery plot for the Christmas edition, she took on roles for Whorechata and Victrola.

“I completely redesigned the entire script, the action, the plot,” she says, “and I collaborated with Anne-Michelle, Venus, Whorechata, and Matthew Cox to create this completely unique, highly theatrical drag experience. lots of fun.”

The Christmas Clue-inspired mystery plot was a one-off experiment, but Tucker L’Whor doesn’t rule out the possibility of another original plot being written in the future. Meanwhile, she cycles through the three lots she bought from Murders Incorporated: the 1920s Prohibition theme, a Masquerade theme, and a Midnight Manor theme.

A sold-out show has about thirty people.  - NOSFERATUNE

A sold-out show has about thirty people.

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“We have Masquerade in New Orleans. It’s based on a lot of voodoo magic, but I want to point out that it’s based on the stereotypes of voodoo magic, not a real historical story of what it is,” she clarifies. . “Then there’s Midnight Manor, which is my personal favorite, because it tells a haunted mansion, and there’s a mystery in the mystery. It’s a mystery from thirty years ago that you also have to invent to solve the mystery that’s unfolding.” playing now.”

Now that she’s proven how popular the parties are, other venues where Tucker L’Whor has put on shows before are jumping on the murder mystery train. “We’re going to do them at Middleman, Call to Arms Brewing Company, Lady Justice Brewing, and Fiction Brewery,” she says. “Those are our main four, and then I also have people who message me for private events, where they host it at their homes.”

Tucker L’Whor’s favorite part of the murder mystery festivities so far has completely overturned the usual dynamic between the audience and the performers. “In the stereotypical drag show, the performance comes from the performer. The performer brings their artistry, they perform in front of people, people tip them and they ride their bikes. With this model, the performance comes from the audience,” she explains.

The Christmas cast of Tucker L'Whor, from left, Matthew Cox, Anne-Michelle Misdemeanor, Tucker L'Whor, Venus Victrola and Whorechata.  - NOSFERATUNE

The Christmas cast of Tucker L’Whor, from left, Matthew Cox, Anne-Michelle Misdemeanor, Tucker L’Whor, Venus Victrola and Whorechata.

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With three murder mystery parties over the coming months, now’s your chance to be part of the uniquely immersive, carefully curated experience. The next event is in Middleman on Sunday, May 15, followed by one on June 11 at Lady Justice Brewing Company and a date in July at Fiction Beer Company. Tickets range from $30 to $50 per person, depending on location, and all tickets include a themed cocktail.

Can you solve the murder, or will you be one of the three unfortunates facing their doom? There’s only one way to find out.

Talia Tucker L’Whor’s next murder mystery event is on Sunday, May 15 at 7 p.m. at Middleman, 3401 East Colfax Avenue. Tickets are $30 and available on Tucker L’Whor’s website.

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