Joey Arias: A NYC legend takes the stage in Mérida

Joey Arias performs at El Remate in Mérida this Sunday. Photo: Courtesy

A bona fide fixture of New York City’s vibrant downtown performance scene for 30-plus years, Joey Arias is bringing his cabaret show to Mérida. His one-night-only performance is at El Remate, which has a new chef and menu.

Growing up outside of New York, I remember Arias as a major provocateur and trailblazer for drag before RuPaul grabbed the torch and took it to television. The Village Voice, as I recall, had him as one of the “club kids” whose appearances were routinely documented. And he certainly was a nightclub fixture back in the day. 

Get tickets to see Joey Arias Sunday, March 17, at El Remate

Joey Arias is considered a mastermind in redefining artistic boundaries, from Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity” to his naughty puppet show, “Arias With A Twist,” in 2008. 

Joey Arias performs at El Remate in Mérida this Sunday. Photo: Courtesy

In 2010 Arias returned to New York City with his first full-length concerts in over a decade. “Joey Arias in Concert” played to sold-out houses for two weeks at Abrons Arts Center  in the Lower East Side. But he’s also gone uptown. Arias has performed at 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 on Cinemax, HBO’s Real Sex and Gayer Than Gay on VH1.

Now in his 70s, Arias still cinches his waist and commands whatever stage he’s standing on. In 2023, he toured the U.S. while dropping his first full album, “Past Present Future.” The music is gorgeous. 

“Reimagining several songs from his extensive career, Past Present Future emerges as a striking blend of pop and jazz with cabaret nuances all to Joey’s distinctive avant-garde flair,” writes Notion magazine, referencing Arias’ “raspy and demanding vocals” and “Joey’s unique musical identity.”

“Every track is a narrative, allowing us to bask in his storytelling prowess and experience the rich tapestry of his artistry,” Notion’s Darcy Culverhouse wrote in December. 

Remate reboot

If cabaret at Remate is somewhat new, the following Sunday hints at what else is cooking on the southern tip of the Paseo de Montejo at Calle 47.

El Remate’s Brasserie Peninsular concept, now with Anima’s Chef Daniel Ron at the helm, is celebrated on the rooftop terrace with a tasting menu featuring wines, mezcals, signature cocktails, and appetizers from the new menu. The celebration continues downstairs with a family-style dinner showcasing various entrees and desserts.

Get tickets for both events here.

IG: @joeyariasnyc @elrematedemontejo 

Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012.
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