Drag Diva Duo

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Saturday July 9, 2016
Share this Post:

Sherry Vine and Joey Arias are old friends. Drag artists, celebrities, respected vocalists and seasoned performers, the pair will take to the Oasis stage July 15 and 16 for a look back on their brilliant careers as they ponder the future.

"Joey Arias and I have worked together since 1993," Vine said in a Bay Area Reporter interview as she was preparing for Looking Back at the Future, the Oasis show.

"Joey saw me performing as Edith Piaf at Bastille Day in New York City and invited me to join her and Raven O at the legendary Bar d'O. We have traveled extensively together around the world, always laughing and turning it out onstage. Joey is generous, kind, out-of-control and a living treasure! Oh, and a whore."

"Loved her the minute I saw him, I mean her," Arias said with a laugh. "My friend said that we were going to be great friends, and it's been that way ever since. And the rest is history."

Both stars shared a little of their personal histories for potential newbies in the audience. "Sherry Vine is a show girl with a heart of gold," Vine said. "She came to be about 25 years ago when she first stepped onstage in a wig and a dream and has never looked back. The original scat queen, Sherry's act is filthy, hilarious and at times on-key."

"My act is always classy," offered Arias. "I started working with Klaus Nomi [in the 1970s]. Years after Klaus passed I got involved in the drag world, It was new and exciting. Thierry Mugler put me in his George Michael video, "Too Funky," and my life changed. I was channeling Billie Holiday in a suit, but when I was dressed the game changed and the money tripled."

Araias added that performing in drag is one of his favorite things to do. "I adore getting all dressed up. It's called show biz! I never looked back at my boy clothes."

Vine explained the meaning behind the show's title.

"Looking Back at The Future for me means literally just that," she said. "We are bringing some of our big hits from the past into the present with a futuristic twist. Drag is in every living room now, but what we have to offer is special and unique."

"The audience will hear some Billie Holiday, and original tunes," said Arias of her own contribution. "We will have lots of fun singing classics and originals. And of course there will be serious moments. How can you not reflect on what's going on in this world?"

Both stars indeed reflected on the recent tragedy in which 49 LGBT people were murdered by a gunman at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, Florida.

"I had to do a brunch show the very next morning after the Orlando tragedy," Vine recalled of that horrific day. "I texted the owner saying I didn't think it was a good idea, but then texted him right back and said, 'We have to do it.' It's important to carry on and not give in to fear or let terror win."

"I was torn apart," Arias said. "I've lived through so many deaths and I don't even know if I have tears anymore. It just seems to be the norm, and no one does anything about it. I'm getting angry. This - it must end. The gays/LGBT will be the ones who will make sure it ends."

They both said that they're excited about coming to Oasis, which, for Vine, is a San Francisco homecoming.

"I have performed at Oasis," she said. "Once for my solo show and last year with Jackie Beat in our Battle of The Bitches show. I make fun of Heklina a lot, and she deserves it, but I have to say they did an amazing job with Oasis. It's a real stage with real lighting and sound. I think, as queens, they appreciate that and took the time to do it right. There's also a big dressing room. That's like a unicorn for gay bars!"

Arias, who is making his Oasis debut, has performed in the city numerous times, most recently for a sold out concert at the Castro Theater, and previously at Feinstin's at the Nikko in a Klaus Nomi tribute with Nomi's songwriter Kristian Hoffman. Arias promises that he and Vine will do a meet-and-greet after the Oasis show.

"This is my favorite part of the night, to meet everyone," she said. "Sherry will be in the bathroom fixing her lipstick."

Vine assures us that a good time will be had by all, and hopes people will come and share the love that she and Arias feel for each other.

"The show has lots of laughs but there are also touching and heartfelt moments," she promises. "We love each other sincerely and that always shines through."

Joey Arias and Sherry Vine: Looking Back at the Future. Friday, July 15 & 16, 7pm. Oasis, 298 11th Street. $25-225. www.sfoasis.com