Joey Arias: A Centennial Celebration of Billie Holiday
at Lincoln Center American Songbook
Select Press Quotes
"More than most, Mr. Arias understands the risks and rewards of playing with fire."
- Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Joey Arias is a demigod of the demimonde."
- Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

"The shock is not in the imitation of Holiday's sound but in the intensity of Mr. Arias' feeling."
John Lahr, New Yorker

"Eat your heart out, Madonna."
- Ben Brantley, New York Times

"In a set which spans rock, Phil Spector girl group, Burt Bacharach and a generous allowance of Billie Holiday interpretations which have seen him hailed a 21st Century 'channel', [Arias is] utterly convincing at bubblegum sweetness, contemplative balladry, pure jazz improvisation and, in the show-stopping and radically rearranged 'Strange Fruit,' Holidays' powerful elegy about racist lynchings, a raspy bluesy howl"
- Rupert Mellor, Out There

"[Arias] makes memories. The kind that last for a lifetime."
- Sundance Channel, Sunfiltered blog

"...romantic, post-modern, transgender wonder..."
- New York Cool

"...make[s] Lady Gaga look like Greta Van Sustern."
- New York Times

Select Press Articles

Joey Arias channels Billie Holiday for singer's centenary
San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 2015

Joey Arias Incarnates Billie Holiday in the American Songbook

New York Times, February 26, 2015

Lightning Strikes: An Interview with Living Legend Joey Arias

Huffington Post, January 28, 2013

All the Things He Is and Isn’t

New York Times (Fashion & Style), October 5, 2011

Susanne Bartsch Talks With Joey Arias About Resurrecting Nightlife Countless Times Over
Document Journal
, Fall 2014

Strange Fruit: Joey Arias Channels Lady Day
Village Voice, VOICE Choice, April 13 2011

Effigies and Aliens Cavort in a Cross-Dressing Wonderland (Theater review)
Ben Brantley, New York Times, July 19, 008

Arias on Holiday
New Yorker
, Talk of the Town, August 22, 1994


A fixture of New York City's vibrant downtown performance scene for 30-plus years, Joey Arias is a bona fide NYC icon. In 2012, he appeared in a headlining solo concert at Central Park SummerStage and played the Southbank Centre in London as part of the Antony Hagerty-curated Meltodwn Festival. Then in October Z Chromosome, a short film starring Arias and directed by Manfred (Thierry) Mugler opened the 18th Annual Festival Chéries-Chéris in Paris. Spring 2013 saw Joey Arias in Residence at Joe's Pub and on tour in the Western United States beginning with a Valentines Day concert at the world-famous Castro Theatre.

Arias lived and worked with legendary musician Klaus Nomi until Nomi’s death in 1983. However, he has long since stepped out of Nomi’s shadow to gain fame in his own right as a performance artist, cabaret singer and drag artist. From outrageous performances at seminal New York nightclubs Jackie 60 and Squeezebox to the now-legendary nights at Bar d'O where he held court with Raven-O and Sherry Vine, Arias has distinguished himself with scandalous wit, sleek style and an extraordinary voice... evocative of Lady Day yet uniquely his own.

It was no surprise when Arias was tapped by Cirque du Soleil to originate the role of the emcee in their Las Vegas spectacular Zumanity, for which he co-wrote 3 songs. After 6 years in that role, Arias returned to New York where he became star and co-creator of Arias With a Twist with master puppeteer Basil Twist. The show was a critical and commercial hit and extended repeatedly for a total of 8 months at HERE Arts Center. The show has been subsequently presented in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Paris and returned to New York for another critically acclaimed, encore 8-week run at Abrons Arts Center in Fall 2011. The Arias With A Twist docu-fantasy premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and had its US premiere at the 2011 TriBeca Film Festival.

In 2010 Arias returned to New York City with his first full-length concerts in over a decade. Joey Arias in Concert -- featuring new jazz luminary Ben Allison and a band comprised of some of NYC's best musicians -- played to sold-out houses for two weeks at Abrons Arts Center. A scaled down version of the show opened the Spiegeltent at Bard SummerScape in 2011.

Arias has performed worldwide at venues including Carnegie Hall, The Freedom Theatre in London and on a transatlantic world tour into the cabaret clubs of Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Canada and England. On film, he has appeared in Mondo New York, Big Top Pee Wee, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Wigstock - The Movie, Flawless and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. Television credits include the infamous Saturday Night Live episode with David Bowie and Klaus Nomi, Ann Magnuson's Vandemonium (Cinemax), Elvira's MTV Halloween Special, HBOs Dragtime, HBO's Real Sex and Gayer Than Gay on VH1, along with numerous appearances on a wide variety of talk shows and programs. Additionally, Arias has produced several of his own recordings including Arias on Holiday, Strange Fruit, Jazzo Lozo, God Shave the Queen and live recordings of StarLust in Berlin, Arias with a Twist and Bar D'o in New York.


Management & Booking
Earl Dax
442-D Lorimer Street #150
Brooklyn, NY 11206

Press Photos* (click on image for Hi-Res)

© Heath McBride

© Santiago Felipe

*Additional press photos available upon request.


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Joey Arias with Ben Allison
and Steve Dawson at Pangea, NYC