It might seem like drag queen Viva Vidalia popped out of nowhere with her own weekly show at Rockbar Thursday nights, but she’s actually been at it for six years. And as Mr. Rockbear 2016, she / he’s on a very short list of queens to also hold a title for a leather bear competition! Thotyssey is honored to have Viva pop her interview cherry with us.
Thotyssey: Hi Viva! How are you tonight?
Viva Vidalia: I’m doing great. I will be headed down to Rockbar pretty soon, so my night is about to get better!
Are you in Petra’s show tonight?
I’m not performing, but I always come to support The Petra Fried Show. It’s always incredible.
So, Ms. Vidalia, you own the unique distinction of having a weekly drag show in Manhattan, which a lot of queens would kill for, AND you just won Mr. Rockbear 2016, a leather bear competition. How easy, or difficult, is it to shift between king and queen that quickly?
It is actually pretty easy. Whether I’m wearing a leather jock or a sequin gown, I’m always myself. Both characters are just an extension of my personality. Sometimes I get beard envy, but it’s nothing a vodka cranberry can’t cure.
Who came first, the bear or the queen?
Viva has actually been around for about six years in total. I performed on Long Island for a while to help pay for textbooks before I took a hiatus. I’ve been coming to Rockbar for a little more than three years, and that’s really when I got into the bear scene. The ‘NYC Viva,’ as I like to call her, has been around since November of last year.
What kind of a woman is NYC Viva?
She’s a lot more dancey, and wears a lot more bathing suits! I really learned to love my body because of my involvement in the bear community, and I’ve brought that confidence into my performing and looks.
I love that! Do you have a favorite number to perform yet?
Right now I am absolutely obsessed with the new Sia album, so I’ve been performing her song “Move Your Body” just about every gig!
So, what specifically inspired you to bring Viva back in NYC?
I had been itching to perform for a while, so when I lost my 9 to 5 job last September and needed a bit more cash I decided to bust out the makeup kit from the back of the closet.
And how did you get the Rockbar gig?
Literally by asking the owner! I’ve actually been coatcheck and barback at Rockbar for about a year [as boy-self Moises], so Erich, the owner, and I have been friends for a while. The Thursday party at the time was getting cancelled, and I asked for a chance. The first few shows were super successful, and Erich decided to keep me on as a weekly show.
What do you love about drag?
I honestly love that I get to entertain people. Anybody that comes to my show can forget whatever troubles they had and just have a good time. My performances are all for the audience.
There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in Rockbar now, but would you still consider it a bear bar?
Absolutely! The term “bear” has become such an umbrella label. For me a good bear bar is a place where all kinds of people can come together and celebrate body positivity and inclusivity while enjoying some great beer. Rockbar is definitely a place where everyone can come together and feel totally comfortable and accepted.
OMG I’m so excited! I’ve been asking him to do my show since the very first one, and I’m so glad that he is finally coming out of retirement for me. Dijoun is so important to me, and he is really a Christopher Street legend, so I can’t wait to light the stage up with him… her!
So, what was the Mr. Rockbear competition, exactly?
This is the second year of the competition. The first categorie was Presentation, where contestants explained why they feel they should win. Second category was the Q&A, where we were instructed to wear our “signature bear look” and answered a question selected by the judges. And last was the Fetish/Jock Gear, where we were instructed to wear our favorite Fetish gear or Jock, and also Go-go dance a bit for the crowd and judges.
They also surprised us with a second question after we danced.
Oooh! What was your second question?
They asked me which two of the judges I would want to have a threesome with. Which was easy because naturally I had already slept with all of them!!! [Laughs] Just kidding. But it was a fun question!
So, What are your duties now as Mr. Rockbear?
Ultimately to represent and promote the bar, but people can also expect a ton of charitable events happening at the bar in the coming months. I’ve personally always been passionate about awareness and aid for homeless youth. Many of the events will benefit that demographic. I will also be travelling quite a bit, making appearances, and again promoting Rockbar .
Looking forward to seeing more of you! So, are you ready for a drag pageant now?
I’m definitely going to feel my oats with this win for a little while longer before I compete for any other sash and crown, but Viva will definitely be competing for a title very soon.
Okay, last question… what’s something the world needs to know about Viva right now?
This is just the beginning, and there is much more entertaining to come from both Viva Vidalia and Mr. RockBear 2016!
Great, thanks Viva / Moises, and congratulations!
Viva Vidalia performs at Rockbar every Thursday night at 7pm. She will be a guest performer for Detoxx Busti-ae’s AIDS Walk fundraiser at Stonewall on Sunday, May 8th. She can be followed on Facebook and Instagram. As Mr. Rockbear, her boy self Moises will make several appearances in and out of Rockbar through the year, and he can be followed on Facebook as well.
See Also: Viva Vidalia (11.20.2018)