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Saturday, June 4, 2011

OUTscene America: (Exclusive INTER-view) Adrian Ryan's Wild chat with Cabaret Legend, Joey Arias!

Do know who Joey Arias is? If you know NY, Performance art, David Bowie then you know who he is. The name sounded familiar and was eager to meet this Cabaret Legend.

Joey Arias is a New York City based performance artist, cabaret singer, and drag artist.

Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he was six when he moved with his family to Los Angeles. After singing with the rock band "Purlie" on Capitol Records and a stint with famed improvisational group the Groundlings, he moved to New York City as a teenager and eventually got a job at the Fiorucci designer clothing store. He and other store staff were known to first ever perform live (dance & model clothes) in the shop window's. While working at the store he became friends with alternative icon Klaus Nomi, singing backup to David Bowie and designing sets and costumes. While in New York he also performed with a band called Strange Party which recorded and performed in various night clubs.

Arias, who is openly gay,gradually became involved in the burgeoning 1980s New York performance art scene, appearing regularly at Club 57 and other downtown venues. During these years he also began crafting a successful career in cabaret, based on his talent for channeling the vocal style and mannerisms of the legendary Billie Holiday. He has since recorded several albums and pursued an international nightclub career.

Upon the death of his dear friend and artistic collaborator, Joey became executor to the Klaus Nomi (Sperber) estate. A tribute to his friend is held in Berlin every year. A film on the life he shared with Klaus is currently in the works.

Arias is also notable for his portrayal of Joan Crawford in New York productions of Christmas with the Crawfords, an original holiday spoof of Christina Crawford's book Mommie Dearest. The San Francisco based production premiered Off-Broadway at the Grove Street Playhouse in 2000 starring Arias as Joan. Arias also starred in a 2001 revival of the play at the Chelsea Playhouse.

Joey is (One) of the subjects of the Documentary, "Arias with a Twist" (The other is Puppeter, Basil Twist) that played Friday, June 3rs at QDOC in PDX. I am reposting this interview from October when Arias was in Seattle for SLGFF and spoke Exclusively with OUTscene Special, Adrian Ryan to chat, but got a wild conversation on tape! Enjoy!

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