Paul Elliott Captures Phoenix's Drag Scene with "This D**k Walks Into a Bar" at Eye Lounge

Categories: Performance Art

Melissa Fossum
Paul Elliott's photos of Celia Putty

His pieces capture the point of view of a drag show audience member. Most of the photos are from a point of view that slightly look up at the performer and capture spontaneity and the overall raunchy yet fun environment of a drag show.

"I've contemplated RuPaul's Drag Race as a catalyst for change. I would have killed to have someone tell me that it is okay to embrace male femininity when I was a teenager, but I think the show's popularity could be a double-edged sword. The commercialization of a scene usually means a level of sterilization. Who knows what will happen, but I wanted to capture the Phoenix drag scene now in 2013, when drag is on the brink of possibly American Idol-ing. I wanted to capture the scene before Target started carrying breast plates."

"This D**k Walks Into a Bar" shows that there's more to drag than catfights and fishy (a.k.a. ultra-feminine) queens lip-synching for their lives. While the local queens may not receive the same amount of recognition as someone like Sharon Needles or Jynkx Monsoon, there is plenty of talent waiting to be discovered in the Valley.

Melissa Fossum
Paul Elliott's portrait of Sizzel Lamour

"I hope that people can take away from this project that Phoenix is so much more than golf courses and sports," he says. "I want to expose the fact that [a] drag show really is a unique way to spend an evening out. How many bars do you walk into in which a live show is happening? And I'm not talking about a band. I'm talking about you may be heckled, you might see a wig fall off, you could watch the Virgin Mary give birth to the tune of 'Like A Virgin,' anything can happen at a drag show! I suppose I've created a Drag 101 course for those that don't know."

"This D**k Walks into a Bar" runs through Sunday, January 12, at Eye Lounge.

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Location Info



Eye Lounge

419 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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