Artist you should know

SF Drag Queen : Rita Bitch

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DRAWN FROM THE CITY: Illustrations and Interviews of SF’s Best, first appeared in The Bold Italic in 2015 and ran through 2016. We at broke-assstuart.com liked them so much we asked Crystal if we could put them out again as a time capsule of SF’s creative scene during the height of the most recent tech boom and demographic change.


ILLUSTRATION & INTERVIEW
BY CRYSTAL VIELULA
@CRYSTALVIELULA

When did you move to San Francisco?
I moved to San Francisco exactly three years ago from West Hollywood.

What brought you here?
I am a very spontaneous person, it was the day after my birthday and I had just got back from a Vegas trip.  I was on my front stoop and just ended up coming straight to San Francisco with the same luggage.  I was supposed to be up for a day or two, a turnaround trip, and then I went to Dolores Park, I met a bunch of people and ended up staying for a week.  I decided then that I wanted to move to San Francisco.  I went home for a month and a half, saved $1,200 and came right back and checked into a hostel.

How has living here been for you?
Challenging, really really difficult in the beginning.  Finding a steady living situation in San Francisco is just unreal.  So I was staying in a hostel for a really long time.  Now that I have a steady place to stay and am doing my gigs it’s been a lot more pleasant and I call it home.

How long did it take you to settle?
It took me a year and a half.  Technically you are only able to stay in a hostel for two months and after that you have to migrate all around the city.  I had problems with bed bugs; it was intense for a good year and a half but it was also a huge learning experience and it taught me so much about myself.

How has moving to San Francisco changed you?
I’ve changed so much, I’ve been forced to grow up a lot and have accepted myself a little bit more.  I’m a lot more stable financially and mentally.

What is your favorite neighborhood?
I would have to say North Beach because of the view and the culture that remains there.  It’s very mom and pop, neighborhood oriented and they have amazing restaurants.  You can also walk up to Coit Tower and see a view of the ocean.

What is your occupation?
Here at Metamorphosis Salon I am the creative director and manager.  I organize parties, networking events, and bring on new staff.  Back in L.A. I was doing hair for four years and when I moved here I decided I was done.  I wanted to start something new but ironically I started managing the salon.  I’m happy; I am able to incorporate everything that I do like production, hair styling, even drag all within one career.

How long have you been doing drag?
A little over two years, I was doing more of an androgynous version of drag in L.A. I still dressed up but I never did full on fish drag.

What is fish drag?
It’s more full on, wig, padding; you are pursuing the look of a full woman; fish drag is trying to pass.

Do you have any Drag Queens you look up to?
I would have to say Raja from Rue Paul’s Drag Race, Sharon Needles and of course Rue Paul, who would I be if I didn’t say her, that’s Momma Rue.

What are your style inspirations?
High-end fashion, anything dark, I’m known for always sticking with black.  I like Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Edward Scissorhands, Alexander McQueen, and John Galliano.  I am definitely more into the theatrics of fashion.  For numbers, movies, actors and Lady Gaga’s stage presence and performances inspire me.

Why did you choose Rita Bitch as your drag name?
I’m friendly but am known for talking a lot of shit and throwing shade.  I’ve been told that as soon as I put on my last lash my whole personality changes.  It could just be the way you feel because you put such hard work into your make-up and deserve that confidence.  My friends would always say here she goes she’s about to read a bitch.  One day they were like why can’t that just be your drag name that’s what you do anyways. There are different types of drag queens some people want to be women, some do it for the art, but I’m looking to make more of a brand out of it; maybe in the future start a school, and create a product.

Do you have a favorite drag night?
Not really but I want to create a night once a month with a good photographer and good lighting.  I want these queens that are spending all this money on clothes and padding and wigs to be photographed.  That’s work spent that gets washed off at the end of the night, it needs to be seen and documented.

Do you have a favorite San Francisco moment?
My first Pride in San Francisco, I had never seen so much acceptance it’s nothing like Los Angeles; you feel the love on the streets in San Francisco.

What is your favorite thing about living in the city?
Being able to walk out the front door looking like a fucking freak and still getting a complement.

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Crystal Vielula

Crystal Vielula

Crystal Hermann is an artist, fashion and costume designer living and working in San Francisco. She graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design from the California College of the Arts. She currently teaches fashion, sewing, painting and drawing to school age students in the Bay area.
She loves drawing and creating things and is constantly learning new exciting skills that she applies to her work. Besides creating things and teaching, she enjoys riding her bike and dancing. You can see more of her work at www.crystalvielula.com