Starting tonight, Joey Arias returns to New York City with his popular show Arias with a Twist, a madcap fantasy featuring Arias’ unique song stylings and a menagerie of marionettes under the keen direction of outré puppeteer Basil Twist.
Arias, who originated the role of the emcee in the Vegas Cirque du Soleil extravaganza, Zumanity, got his start in downtown New York in the early 80s, where he attended a party hosted by Andy Warhol and budding art stars Kenny Scharf, Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. As Arias tells Out magazine, “I was a drag party—I had this big red wig on and tits out to here.” The enamored partygoers told Arias he never needed to wear men’s clothing again.
We wouldn’t call Arias a drag queen though—and neither would he. “I’m not a drag queen—I’m a goddess. Some people say, ‘Oh she’s a diva.’ But a diva still needs things—a goddess is above it all.”
Apropos of such a divine creature, Arias’ costumes for the Arias with a Twist tour were created by legendary designer Thierry Mugler.
Arias with a Twist runs at Abron Arts Center Sept 18–Oct 15.
Photography by Steven Menendez