Celia Putty's 2 Girls, 1 Cup Is a Good Time at Kobalt Bar in Phoenix

Categories: Events

celiabackstage_janessahilliard.jpg
Janessa Hilliard
Celia Putty primps backstage after 2 Girls, 1 Cup on Wednesday, January 22.
It's nearing 10 p.m. at a bar in the center of a shopping complex in the middle of Phoenix. Standing in front of the slightly raised stage are four men, each wearing the same combination of discomfort and amusement on his face. They stare into an audience of high-topped tables cluttered with patrons who are just beginning to drink off the mid-week slump. They exchange glances.

Unexpectedly, a fur coat is flung forward, resting on the shoulder of one of the gentlemen. Moments later, a bustier follows suit. A floor-length black dress is next. The men making up this human changing curtain neither flinch nor move -- there isn't time to react. From behind, a woman emerges, clad in thigh-high leather boots and mesh, a large, gaudy cross around her neck, mic in hand.

"Are you having a good time?" she demands of the audience.

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

Lorde's "Royals" plays over the sound system and she struts among the tables, miming every lyric. "You can call me queen Bee." The sass is palpable, the dark-lipped sneer playful. Audience members begin handing over dollar bills, captivated by the parade. Because under the fake eyelashes and all that makeup -- and there is quite a bit of makeup involved -- is a man. "Let me live that fantasy."

Perhaps the best description of Celia Putty's 2 Girls, 1 Cup is a variety show done in drag, hosted by a Valley queen with a devoted following. It's part cabaret, part show-and-tell, part free-for-all. There's audience participation (both willing and non), exaggerated performances, and free shots. It feels more like a group of friends outdoing one another at the end of the evening and the end of yet another bottle. Everyone's welcome here, and everyone's at home.

Named for the unofficial nickname of scat-fetish pornographic film Hungry Bitches (which is exactly what it sounds like), Putty's 2 Girls, 1 Cup is a play on the graphic shock video -- an excuse to be outrageous and talk shit about shit, literally and often. Newcomers are asked onstage during each performance to view a clip from the film, which includes vomit and making out, but the extent of the relationship ends there.

Celia Putty, whose real name is Richie Black, has been performing for years. The former Miss Gay Arizona 2011, Putty, 43, has hosted or participated in regular drag nights at the Rock, Cruisin' 7th, and Zoan with a rotating cast of locals, including Barbra Seville, Sophia Sinclair, and Monica Mooree, long before RuPaul's Drag Race became a must-watch for makeup artists and aspiring drag queens alike.

Wednesday nights at Kobalt have belonged to Putty for over a year now. The loose format is the same each week, but the content -- and what's in the cup -- always changes. The cup, a large coffee cup with a toilet seat handle and two noticeable padlocks, is permanently housed at the bar. Patrons are encouraged to donate whatever they'd like into it throughout the week prior to the gig. Past items have ranged from baby dolls to anal beads to a giant black dildo. Anything's game, and it all will see the light of day during an elaborate reveal in-between musical numbers like Lady Gaga's "Donatella," during which Putty donned a long, blonde wig, tight black pantsuit, and signature Versace pout, and routines from the cult classic Showgirls.

Location Info

Map

Kobalt

3110 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

The Rock

4129 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

Cruisin' 7th

3702 N. 7th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

Zoan

4301 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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