PICA is proud to be a community partner for the Queer Documentary Film Festival’s presentation of Arias With a Twist. Visit www.queerdocfest.org for more details tickets, and be sure to check out the opening night party with a live appearance by Joey Arias and Thomas Lauderdale.
When the legendary performance artist Joey Arias met the brilliant puppeteer Basil Twist, a one-of-a-kind magic happened on the New York stage. Lucky for us, their collaboration has been captured on film. The exhilarating beauty of Joey’s persona and voice combined with Basil’s elegant and outrageous puppet work is a jawdropping spectacle that makes Lady Gaga’s antics look like a picnic with Sandra Dee.
Fascinating archival material traces the history of both collaborators. From the barrios of L.A. to the New York performance art scene, Joey has been an enduring figure in queer arts and culture through three decades. Working with the likes of Klaus Nomi and Thierry Mugler, his performances broke boundaries around the world. Friend and colleague Ann Magnuson describes Joey as a “cosmic surrealistic psychedelic glamour clown,” making him the perfect collaborator for third-generation puppeteer Basil Twist, a queer visionary in his own right.
Director Bobby Sheehan’s film is a celebration of creativity and imagination. Basil’s sumptuous stagecraft makes Joey the star of his own fantasies, creating a dreamscape for the performer to romp through, from a gyroscopic alien exam room to a lush jungle alive with flora and fauna. Pretty twisted to begin with, Joey and Basil together reach new artistic heights in Arias with a Twist. -Corey Eubanks