November 28 2009
Mark C O’Flaherty
Joey Arias is the supreme icon of New York nightlife – he sings like Billie Holiday and looks like Bettie Page. I’ve seen this cabaret singer and performance artist (pictured) provoke ecstatic standing ovations everywhere from small cocktail lounges to sold-out stadium shows in Las Vegas.
Over the past year or so he’s been working with avant-garde puppeteer Basil Twist on the most amazing thing I think I’ve ever seen on stage. Arias With a Twist is a surreal musical journey that starts in space, sees Joey Arias stomp, Godzilla-like, through the Manhattan skyline and ends with a wild hallucinogenic Busby Berkeley finale.
Basil Twist’s props are theatrical genius, as is Arias’ Thierry Mugler-designed wardrobe (Arias has been Thierry’s muse since the early 1990s). The show, which is currently on tour, is now in LA, at the Red Cat Theatre, until December 13; tickets from $35. Pre-production on a big-screen documentary about the show is also under way.