///BY JASON SALERNO
SEVERAL NIGHTS A WEEK IN THE ‘90S, A ROWDY CROWD OF REGULARS WOULD GATHER AT A CRAMPED LITTLE JOINT IN THE
WEST VILLAGE. THEY WERE THERE TO SEE DOWNTOWN LEGEND JOEY ARIAS, A FOULMOUTHED TROUBLEMAKER IN A BETTIE PAGE WIG, AND RAVEN O, AN ANDROGYNOUS TATTOOED SONGSTRESS WITH LEGIT JAZZ CHOPS. TOGETHER, THEY WERE AN EDGY SENSATION—DOWN AND DIRTY, LOOSE AND ALIVE.
The show lasted 10 years before Joey was recruited to be the “Mistress of Seduction” of Zumanity, Cirque du Soleil’s erotic spectacle in Las Vegas. Raven joined Zumanity too, until 2006, when he left to host “The Box” in NYC and star Off Broadway in “Raven O, One Night With You.”
For more than a decade, the two have been dreaming and scheming of ways to reunite with a new production. This summer in Provincetown, they’ll get their wish when the pair take the stage in their brand new show, WANTED LIVE. Raven O explains.
Wanted Live will be the first time you and Joey Arias have performed together in 10 years. Are you sure you still have your mojo? I went to see Joey perform at Joe’s Pub recently, and at one point between songs, she asked, “Where’s Raven?” I stood up and we did a couple verses of “All of Me.” It was like we had never been apart. When we were done the house erupted in cheers. Joey and I have a connection and chemistry that can never fade.
How have you grown as an artist? The Raven O from 10 years ago was a character I created. I never thought of her as drag. I conjured up what I felt would I be like as a woman: a strong woman. These days, I’m more focused on being my true androgynous self. I’m polished. I still have a tongue though, and if you talk or text during my show, you might wish you were never born.
What made Bar d’O so magical? Joey Arias, Sherry Vine, Sade Pendavis and me. We brought our special brand of music and mayhem that clicked with crowds.
Did you realize you were making history? After our first show, I knew we had something huge. It took a few months for word to get out, but soon, the line outside was around the block.
If you could give one piece of advice to young Raven O, what would it be? That’s a tough one. I’ve had a pretty good ride sticking true to myself, so I guess I would tell him “Don’t change a thing.”
How will you and Joey bring your magic to Provincetown? I took Amtrak and a ferry to P-Town. I think Joey is riding in an SUV. The magic happens when the two of us step on stage. It doesn’t matter where the show is or how we got there.
What is the ultimate goal, Raven O? To be known as a great singer and entertainer, to make people laugh and cry and to keep my front teeth, which cost 8,000 bucks in Las Vegas!
Joey Arias and Raven O star in WANTED LIVE at The PTown Arthouse (214 Commercial Street, Provincetown).
Performances are every Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sundays at 9 p.m.,
beginning July 6 through September 1.
For more information visit