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Drag Icon Joey Arias’ Archive Acquired by Harvard

Heath McBride
Joey Arias by Heath McBride
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New York City nightlife icon and drag star Jodie Arias will see his entire archive integrated into Harvard’s Houghton Library.

“My archives show a career that’s not just drag,” Arias told the Harvard Gazette. “It’s drama, movies, performance art.”

Matt Wittmann, the curator of the Houghton Library at Harvard, acquired Arias’ archive comprised of 70 boxes of materials, including artwork, letters, posters, cassette-recorded celebrity interviews and upwards of 600 Polaroids of the drag star.

“Joey’s archive illuminates aspects of the performing arts that haven’t previously been represented in our collection,” Wittmann explained to the Harvard Gazette. “Part of my impetus here has been to reflect the diversity of American life and orient the collection more toward current interests.”

Arias, who has been a fixture in the New York City nightlife scene for over three decades, is most famous for his Billie Holiday-inspired cabaret shows and gender-bending performances.

Listen to Arias’ take on Billie Holiday’s “Good Morning Heartache” below.

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