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Two Gems Return Home!

Created by Joey Arias & Basil Twist

"a bejeweled cabinet of curiosities"

After a triumphant six-year run in Las Vegas with Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity, Joey Arias returns to his true home, New York City. For the 10th Anniversary of the Dorothy B. Williams Theatre Basil Twist returns to his home at HERE.

Two epic imaginations are unleashed to conjure a modern and intimate fantasy. Twist's signature magic envelopes Arias' legendary voice, transporting us to unpredictable worlds, channeling ecstatic desires, lavish nightmares and bizarre premonitions that can only be found in one of downtown's last enclaves for bohemian New York style, HERE Arts Center.

JUNE 12 - JULY 13
ARIAS WITH A TWIST, starring Joey Arias
Directed and Designed by Basil Twist

Featuring wardrobe provided by Thierry Mugler,
musical arrangements by Elliot Gordon and Jean-Francois Houle, Sound Design by Greg Duffin, Video Design by Daniel Brodie, Lighting Design by Andrew Hill, and Alex Gifford of
"The Propeller Heads" contributes original songs.

Extremely limited seating, so
Go to or call 212-352-3101

Arias With a Twist will play at HERE Arts Center (145 Sixth Avenue)
Schedule: Wednesdays & Thursdays @9pm
Fridays & Saturdays @9pm & 12 Midnight
Sunday at 8pm

For more information on Basil Twist
and his upcoming productions visit

*image design by Scott Ewalt
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There was and article in TimeOut about this starting on June 12th.

We're so excited that Joey is performing his song with the Propellerheads, we've been wondering if that would ever see the light of day. We've been dying to see both Basil and Arias perform... Maybe we'll need to make another quick trip up. Smile


Time Out New York / Issue 662 : Jun 4–10, 2008
Leaving Las Vegas
After years in the desert, downtown legend Joey Arias comes home.

By Adam Feldman

IRREGULAR JOE Arias strikes a pose.
Photograph: Tom Ackerman
HERE is still under construction. Rows of lights hang like bats from the ceiling, and set pieces from the refurbished Soho arts complex's inaugural production, Arias with a Twist, litter the stage: a foam-board skyline, a gynecological exam table, a kick line of nude puppets. Joey Arias, dressed in black sweats, easily navigates the chaos. The notorious singer and drag artiste"”a fixture of Gotham's demimonde for most of the past three decades"”has been away since 2002. But now he's back, and HERE is where he belongs.

Leaving town to join the circus is not, as a general rule, considered a move toward respectability. But when the corporate megalith Cirque du Soleil lured Arias to Las Vegas to host its X-rated extravaganza, Zumanity, the decision raised painted eyebrows all over town. "People didn't think I was going to be able to make it," Arias recalls with pride. "They knew about my past, in bathrooms all over the world. But I blew their minds."

Performing ten shows a week for five years at the New York–New York Hotel & Casino, however, eventually grew old. "I started losing my grip on what I was doing," he says. "And my art clock started ticking." Hence the return to New York, and hence, too, the ambitious Arias with a Twist: a collaboration with the brilliant puppeteer Basil Twist, in which Arias sings roughly a dozen numbers in a wild variety of settings, from an alien spaceship to the depths of Hell. The show is the latest chapter in a book notable for crazy shifts of character. "Everything has been a mistake in my life," Arias notes. "I never plan things. But sometimes a left turn becomes the right turn."

There have been many such moves. As a teenager in Los Angeles, Arias was briefly signed by Capitol Records as part of a teen-pop band called the Purlies. After moving to New York in 1976, he fell in with the new-wave pioneer Klaus Nomi, with whom he backed David Bowie on Saturday Night Live. In the 1980s Arias performed with the troupe Mermaids on Heroin at Danceteria; in the '90s, along with fellow drag stars Raven O and Sherry Vine, he sang for packed crowds at the West Village dive Bar d'O. Along the way, his persona has continually evolved, from petrified alien to devil and beyond; recently, he has tended toward Bettie Page fetish gear and a geometric hairstyle, with Aztec bangs that square off the top of his face. (He describes himself as "a polymorph, a shape-shifter.")

Musically, a major shift came in the 1980s. In England, while recording an album with Iggy and the Stooges, Arias began what he calls "channeling Billie Holiday" while doing a mike check. The recording crew was stunned, and soon he started modeling his singing after Lady Day's. "Something about her voice just transcended," he observes. "You go in, you go out, you dream of love and of something that you've lost." He began performing in drag at the 1991 Wigstock festival. "I was at a standstill with the male thing," he says. "But the moment I put that dress on, my life changed."

In Arias with a Twist, he plans to explore his own variety, via songs that range from the Holiday standard "You've Changed" to tunes by the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, as well as originals by Propellerheads' Alex Gifford and several that Arias has cowritten. The musical numbers are built into a wild scenic adventure that Twist is designing. "When Basil and I talked about this show, I had some ideas," Arias says. "I knew I wanted to be abducted by aliens. I knew I wanted to be on acid. And I knew I wanted a Busby Berkeley something, with a cake and a million legs and chorus girls." The puppet master has admired Arias for years. "Joey is like a sorcerer," Twist says. "He conjures or connects with this completely other world and makes everything else melt away."Arias, for his part, is ready to cast his spell over New York again. "When I was in Vegas, I kept hearing that Manhattan was dead," he says. "But the magic is still here and will always be here. If you feel the magic is gone, you need to go"”because your magic is gone. New York is always changing. You've got to go with the change."

Arias with a Twist begins previews at HERE on Jun 12. Call 212-352-3101 for tickets.
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Effigies and Aliens Cavort in a Cross-Dressing Wonderland

Published: June 19, 2008
Eat your heart out, Madonna. The chanteuses who play Madison Square Garden and football stadiums have never experienced the imaginative heights of spectacle with which Basil Twist surrounds Joey Arias in "Arias With a Twist," which opened Wednesday night at the newly renovated Here Arts Center.

Mr. Twist is the inspired puppet master who, a decade ago, turned wet pieces of cloth into a Folies Bergère-style corps de ballet in his head-tripping interpretation of Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique," set in a giant aquarium. Now he returns to the scene of that career-making triumph, the Dorothy B. Williams Theater, to ply his surreal magic on the venerable downtown drag show.

Mr. Arias, a cross-dressing vocalist notable for the weight of his false eyelashes and his gift for replicating the raspy wail of Billie Holiday, returns to New York after doing time in Las Vegas as a mistress of ceremonies for the racy Cirque du Soleil show Zumanity. And while the stage he commands at Here is, in size, but a fraction of the one he played at the New York New York hotel, it cannot be said that he has hit the small time.

That's because Mr. Twist, along with an accomplished technical team, has whipped up a vast enchanted troupe of effigies "” from a marionette supper-club combo to a life-size chorus line of plump, plumed dancers "” to back up Mr. Arias's song stylings. Well, perhaps back up is not quite the way to put it, since Mr. Twist's creations have a way of stealing the spotlight, even when they're in the shadows.

This show even has a spotlight that steals the spotlight, a roving disc of illumination that shrinks and expands capriciously, a diva unto itself, before the curtain goes up. (Ayumu Saegusa did the lighting.) There are, in fact, an assortment of curtains, which part and fall and drop teasingly, like Salome's veils.

Finally they uncover Mr. Arias, looking like the vintage pin-up model Bettie Page in dominatrix mode, strapped to a giant, rotating silver wheel and being probed by ghostly aliens. The script, devised by Mr. Arias and Mr. Twist, uses this very close encounter as a dropping-off point for a series of earthly, and often earthy, adventures.

These include Mr. Arias tumbling through space and landing in a glorious Edenic rain forest; eating a magic mushroom that takes him straight to hell; stalking Manhattan as a 50-foot woman; and, at last, arriving at a cozy little boîte to sing soulfully before being propelled into the dizzying realm of a Busby Berkeley fantasy number.

The apparitions that show up in these locales are often delightful (the blissful marionette jazz ensemble) and sometimes sinister (the giant slithering serpent in the rainforest). Flowers blossom before your eyes; white-gloved hands, ice cream cones and cymbal-banging monkeys float through the air; and what looks like the entire island of Manhattan materializes as a sky-scraping Oz.

Did I mention the rotating wedding cake? And how about those giant dancing devil puppets, which move like Las Vegas chorus boys? Their outsized assets include flailing phalluses, a reminder that though children might find much to revel in here, this is definitely not a kiddie show.

Mr. Arias's dialogue, delivered in a deadpan mix of little-girl breathlessness and big-girl worldliness, will sound familiar to anyone who's seen a New York drag show during the last few decades. ("I didn't even get his phone number," Mr. Arias sighs after dancing with the devil.) And of course he sings, with varying effectiveness, pop standards ("All by Myself"), acid rock ("Kashmir"), a charming original composition by Alex Gifford ("Jungle of Eden") and, most memorably, the Holiday standard "You've Changed."

As an actor Mr. Arias is not a seamless illusionist. We're always aware of the big lug beneath the Joan Crawford maquillage and Thierry Mugler corsets. But in a way, this makes him the perfect escort into Mr. Twist's wonderland.

Mr. Arias registers as a figure of solid human flesh aching to be transported into a world of celluloid dreams. Costumes and makeup can only take a fellow so far. That's where Mr. Twist comes in, with a fluid mise-en-scène that allows Mr. Arias "” and, vicariously, you and me "” to go the distance, all the way over the rainbow.


Created by Joey Arias and Basil Twist; directed by Mr. Twist; lighting by Ayumu Saegusa; sound by Greg Duffin; video design by Daniel Brodie; costume concepts by Thierry Mugler, designed by Chris March; musical arrangements and production by Eliot Douglass and Jean Houle Francoise; songs by Alex Gifford; production stage manager, Neelam Vaswani; produced by Barbara Busackino. Presented by Here's Dream Music Puppetry Program and Tandem Otter Productions in association with Johnnie Moore. At the Here Arts Center, 145 Sixth Avenue, at Dominick Street, South Village; (212) 352-3101. Through July 13. Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes.

WITH: Joey Arias, Oliver Dalzell, Randy Ginsburg, Kirsten Kammermeyer, Matt Leabo, Jessica Scott and Lindsay Abromaitis Smith.


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One more reviewer singing praises. Can't resist.

Arias With A Twist
by Steven Sparling
EDGE Contributor
Thursday Jun 19, 2008

Fans of the underground odd and artful rejoice, for Joey Arias is back in New York. In Arias With a Twist, drag performer and singer Joey Arias has hooked up with master puppeteer Basil Twist to create a moving atmospheric swath of sound and vision.

Arias channels Billie Holiday while cavorting in all sorts of bizarre, sometimes creepy, settings. He croons love songs with a snake writing around him and sings opera while spinning on a wheel with a coterie of aliens with glowing blue eyes swaying to the beat. Arias even does a marionette make-out with a couple demons during a "Hell" segment-looking quite natural with two large protruding phalluses in his face and ass.

The small stage lends itself well to puppets cavorting around the life-size Arias. The 70-seat Dorothy B. Williams Theatre in the newly renovated Here Arts Center is the perfect size for this show, which marks the 10th anniversary of the Dream Music Puppetry Program and the Dorothy B. Williams Theatre.

Innovative third generation puppeteer and director Basil Twist works wonders with Arias, who has just ended his six-year stint as emcee in "Mistress of Seduction" in the Las Vegas R-rated Cirque du Soleil show Zumanity.

"Arias With a Twist" is about coming home. Arias was a drag artiste in New York City's underground performance art scene for the last three decades. His return brings us an intimate fantasy and a refreshing gulp of extant bohemian air.

It's a drag show with puppets but much, much more. I could tell it was going to be a raucous, and surprisingly emotional night from the very first moment as the Harvey Feirstein-Vincent Price-like voice announced over the speakers for audience members to "turn off all cell phones, iPhones, Blackberries, and dingleberries."

The whole hour-plus show is a feast for the senses, taking Joey Arias from outer space, to a jungle, to a drug-induced hallucination, to Hell, and finally to Manhattan as a giant woman stomping through the streets and eating people out of subway cars a la "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman." Each scene comes alive by way of six talented puppeteers and smart song selections from standards to avant garde.

It's freakish fun, like a ganglion explosion of sheer joy at the sound and spectacle of work that so courageously eschews the expected and the ordinary. Lots of curtains, scrims, and digital projections add to the constant movement, and quick segues between scenes.

The feel of the whole show put me in mind of David Lynch's "Eraserhead," only with a twist of '50s sci fi and '40s big band thrown in. The clip of Joan Crawford in the her bathtub on the telephone in the movie "The Women" is dubbed over with Arias talking about the much-anticipated NYC return of Joey Arias.

These and other movie clips are spliced together in quick succession to create a cacophony of noisy chatter (all voices by Arias in a recording) about the building excitement over his arrival to New York. Movie clips and digital projection effects keep the pace of show up throughout the show so there's never a lull.

Arias' performance of Joni Mitchell's song "Twisted" is kooky bliss. Some pulsing, hypnotic new songs create nightmarish ambiance. A jazzy version of Debussy's "Clare de Lune" provides a weirdly touching moment.

The proceedings end with a fitting Busby Berkley ring of puppet legs doing kicks from a spinning platform with Arias in the center on all-fours and in garters. Most of the show has Arias in Bettie Page drag, and for a couple numbers he wears gowns as mesh-like as the many screens and scrims used throughout the show.

The show ended with a touching homage to NYC. Arias thanked his crew and audience, and his city, which he said is not dead- it's as alive and vibrant and fascinating as ever. So is Joey Arias. Joey's back where he belongs with a new delectable artistic vision of high-art drag performance where he started it all.

"Arias With a Twist"
Opens June 18 (preview before that)
Runs through July 13
HERE Arts Center
145 Sixth Ave.
(212) 352-3101


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its been a dream and a privilege to work with the Goddess Joey Arias
superstar showgirl welcome home rose

thanks to everybody's fabulous support
the show is sold out for its original run!!!
but the truth is that there are rush seats at $20
which, depending on no-shows can be great seats..and best chances are the late night shows

AND we've extended for the rest of the summer

check out what jim fouratt says online
...i like it

Kali Erectus in dervish phantasmagoric spectacle: Arias has met his Max Reinhardt and the NYC theater world is blessed with world-class outsider performance art that splashes on and stains the psyche. Beneath the masks, corsets, lashes and shimmering brio, Arias manifests the sorcery of gender illusion, twisted appropriation and the mesmerizing synthesis of archetypical pop iconicity. Always an originator, never an imitator Arias has both inspired and been ripped off by household names. HERE he finally seizes the spotlight by meshing with his Balanchine /Diaghilev/Cocteau/Tom O'Horgan star-making, visionary director Basil Twist. Molten chemistry smelts from the fission of these two queens' artistry colliding. Arias respectfully channels Holiday and gifts the audience with Billie's soulful sensibility. Twist visually reinvents audacious fantasy seeped in resonating beauty

I was blown away by this show. As I told Basil last night, I've been seeing glimmers of hope for Downtown culture in my peripheral vision lately , but this was an absolute Beacon. I was moved to tears when Joey spoke about coming back to NYC, being home. I felt a sigh of relief come out of me. Thank you both for an amazing spectacle!
I'm so glad it has been extended.

This show really sticks with you.
Even though I saw it weeks ago, I keep thinking about it.
It really is fantastic in EVERY sense of the word.


1a: based on fantasy : not real
1b: conceived or seemingly conceived by unrestrained fancy
1c: so extreme as to challenge belief : unbelievable; broadly : exceedingly large or great

2: marked by extravagant fantasy or extreme individuality : eccentric


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I had goose bumps from the beginning to the end of the show... loved every tiny details of the show! Still can't believe that was real..
Also, I had a lovely coincidence and my seat was next to Mr. Joe's! Mr. Joe, you're right. I also want to see this show many more times! I'm addicted to this beautiful show already...
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hey everybody i have fantastic news and i wanted you all to be the first to know....


"Eat your heart out, Madonna. The chanteuses that play Madison Square Garden and football stadiums have never experienced the imaginative heights of spectacle with which Basil Twist surrounds Joey Arias in Arias with a Twist"
--The New York Times

"What Arias and Twist have fashioned is no less than an eye-popping, delightfully transgressive lysergic fantasia"
--Time Out New York

"As show-business survivors go, few are as graceful or as funny as the drag artist and singer Joey Arias"
--The New Yorker

The critically heralded engagement of Arias with a Twist, an exotic fantasy of song and puppetry from drag artist Joey Arias and theatrical puppet creator Basil Twist, has extended its run now through New Year's Eve.

Arias with a Twist began performances at HERE Arts Center June 12, and subsequently extended its original four-week run through Aug. 31. Credited with turning drag into high art, Arias returns to New York in Arias with a Twist, following an extended run headlining the Las Vegas production of Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity. Renowned puppet designer Basil Twist, Arias with a Twist incorporates Arias' uncanny Billie Holiday-inspired vocals into a production that features a marionette band of musicians, an alien abduction, poisonous snakes, a Busby Berkeley sequence "” and a trip to hell.

Twist also directs the production that features costume concepts by Thierry M. Mugler, costume execution by Chris March, musical arrangements and production by Elliot Douglass and Jean-Francois Houle, sound design by Greg Duffin, lighting design by Ayumu "poe" Saegusa and video design by Daniel Brodie. Alex Gifford has penned original songs ("Lately" and "The Jungle of Eden").

Arias with a Twist will be seen 9 PM Wednesdays-Saturdays, with an additional midnight performance on Saturdays. Sunday performances are at 6 and 9 PM.

Tickets are available by calling (212) 352-3101 or by visiting

HERE Arts Center is located at 145 Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.
the midnight shows for fri and sat this weekend and next are a perfect time to come see our normally sold out show. not only have the dog days of august (and some gay party on fire island) made it that a $20 rush ticket is an easy bet to actually snag a really good seat, but the midnight shows always feature a especially juiced up audience...and joeys voice get particularly smokin!!

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