.Glamour Puss: Phillip Ruise

I first met Phillip Ruise on a volunteer build for Sebastopol’s Siren Fest. He was supervising the construction of two opposing dance stages he designed. One stage was decorated purple and teal with scrab and veiled siren eye motif, the other in a black and saffron, lotus blossom and cat head pattern.

The annual belly dance festival, organized by Siren Studios, is a perfect showcase for Ruise, a clothing designer, dancer, drummer, set decorator and interior decorator—or, as he terms it, “inferior degrader.” And kindred to the fest’s organizers, his aesthetic is inspired by the arabesque and 24-color Indian palettes, both of which he bounces and bends through a series of Western, psychedelic and gay lenses.

Ruise is best known for his dance costumes and magnificent headdresses, which are of a culture all his own.

CH: Phillip, do you identify as a drag performer?

PR: Yes, but I’m not a wig and titty drag queen—there are a billion-and-one of them. And when they see me on the street, they are like, gasp! They’re floored! It’s a funny scene.

CH: What would you call your drag?

PR: I call it “glamour pussing.” I go out and I glamour puss.

CH: I understand that between gigs you practice on the street in front of the Castro Theater in SF. You lived and made art in the city for 30 plus years before moving to Petaluma. Tell me, have you ever toured the Middle East?

PR: Yes, I have performed in Istanbul, Anatolia, Egypt, Rajasthan and at the Taj Mahal. They loved me there!

CH: I want to ask you about your latest costume design (pictured). What inspired it?

PR: I wanted to make a crown that was both a crown for a king and a queen.

CH: It fairly puts the crown courts of Europe to shame. How long did it take to make, and what was it made of?

PR: It took me two weeks. It’s made of cardboard, hot glue, white glue, metallic bags from The Dollar Store and buttons from SCRAP in SF.

CH: That’s funny, SCRAP calls itself an “Aladdin’s cave” for clothing makers. Phillip, your resource is ingenious. How many costumes do you currently have?

PR: Oh, right now about 60!

Ruise performs May 18 at The North Bay Fashion Ball at Lagunitas Petaluma. His dance and dress portfolio is on instagram @phillipruise. Meanwhile: linktr.ee/cincinnatushibbard.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

North Bay Bohemian E-edition North Bay Bohemian E-edition