In the rare '80s movie Mondo New York, a wide-eyed wandering woman stumbles through New York City's Lower East Side, still the raw, beating heart of the underground before waves of gentrification made avant-garde a commodity.
Amazon describes the art-house flick as: "stand-up comedy in Central Park, a prostitution auction, a voodoo ceremony, an S&M club, and a number of very interesting performance artists."
One of those very interesting artists was Joey Arias, a cabaret singer with a sultry voice and sleek, black hair who would become a drag legend famous for soulful renditions of the Beatles, Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, and Cream.
And though the rosy-cheeked performer surfaced from the dirty, hypnotic streets of 1980s Alphabet City into the shiny world of Cirque du Soleil shows, cable TV interviews, and a Manfred Thierry Mugler-directed show ("Z Chromosome: The Essence of Joey Arias"), he'll be hosting an inaugural trip through the underground at Lords South Beach's new art-scene gathering Shhh. "Joey Arias was the obvious choice," Lords founder Brian Gorman says.
The hotel, the nation's first gay boutique property, hopes the biweekly gatherings will attract musicians, photographers, painters, and other creatives in a "celebration of what the Miami scene was always about: diversity and artistic expression."
Each week, a different artist or performer will host the party. Tonight, Joey Arias will be joined by Real Housewife drag pal Elaine Lancaster (he lovingly refers to her as "Barbie on crack"), and fellow nightlife fixtures Lauren Foster, Erin Newberg, and Justin Keeperman. Next week's party will feature a photo exhibition by Jipsy. "It's about pulling people out of the closet," says Arias, "giving them something interesting."
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Shhh, hosted by Joey Arias, Lauren Foster, Erin Newberg, and Justin Keeperman. Tuesday, May 10. Penthouse 401 at Lords South Beach, 1120 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 9 p.m. and admission is free with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit lordssouthbeach.com.