Mar 26, 2016

Coffeehouse Chronicles #133: John Kelly

Michal Gamily – Series Director

Arthur Adair – Educational Outreach

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Join us in March to celebrate the artistic work of John Kelly with archival material, panelists, and live performances.

Panelists include: John Jesurun, Kyle DeCamp, Nicky Paraiso, Carol Lipnik and Kevin Malony  

Moderated by Lucy Sexton


John Kelly is a performance and visual artist. His performance works range in scale from solo to larger ensemble, and stem from autobiographical, cultural, and political issues. Subjects have included the Berlin Wall, the Troubadours, the AIDS epidemic, and Expressionistic Film, and character studies based on Egon Schiele, Caravaggio, Antonin Artaud, Joni Mitchell, and Jean Cocteau. These works have been performed at The Kitchen, Lincoln Center, the Warhol Museum, the Whitney Biennial, PS 122, BAM’s Next Wave Festival, and London’s Tate Modern.

A relationship to self-scrutiny and the mirror began during his training in dance studio, and eventually extended to include a visual art practice of self-portraiture, comprised of drawing, painting, photography and video.

Kelly has received 2 Bessie Awards; 2 Obie Awards; 2 NEA American Masterpiece Awards; an American Choreographer Award; a CalArts/ Alpert Award in Dance/Performance; a Visual AIDS Vanguard Award; and the 2010 Ethyl Eichelberger Award. Fellowships: the Rome Prize in Visual Art at The American Academy in Rome; The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard; The Guggenheim Foundation; The Sundance Theatre Institute, The New York Foundation for the Arts; and Art Matters, Inc., and a 2013 USA Artists (Gracie) Fellowship.  Recent residencies include Armory Artist in Residence at the Park Avenue Armory, the Civitella Ranieri Center, Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and the LMCC Process Space Artist in Residence program.  He was recently a Visiting Artist in Residence at Bard College (2013-15).

Visual Art Exhibitions: Alexander Gray Associates; MOMA; List Visual Art Center at MIT; Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; New Museum; PS 1; Art In General; FotoGrafia-Festival Internazionale di Roma; MACRO, Roma; Biagiotti Progetto Arte, Firenze; the Coreana Art Museum, Soeul, Korea, Harvard University, Hudson Opera House.

As a singer he has collaborated and recorded with composers David Del Tredici, Richard Einhorn, Laurie Anderson, and The Jazz Passengers. Acting credits include the Broadway production of ‘James Joyce’s The Dead’ (Bartell D’Arcy) at the Belasco Theatre; Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Dido, Queen of Carthage’ (Cupid), directed by Neil Bartlett at A.R.T.; Rinde Eckert’s ‘Orpheus X’ (Jon/Persephone) directed by Robert Woodruff, at A.R.T. and TFANA; ‘Dog Days’ (Prince), an opera by David Little, directed by Robert Woodruff at Peak Performances, Ft Worth Opera, LA Opera, and New York’s 2016 Prototype Festival; ‘The Threepenny Opera’ (Street Singer/Filch) directed by Martha Clarke at the Atlantic Theatre Company; ‘The Clerk’s Tale’ (Spencer Reese) a film written and directed by James Franco. He has frequently performed the work of John Cage, including: ‘James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Eric Satie: An Alphabet’ (Narrator); ‘Report On The Weather’; ‘Aria With Fontana Mix (with the San Francisco Symphony); and ‘’The City Wears a Slouch Hat’.

Writing includes ‘JOHN KELLY’, a visual autobiography, published by the 2wice Arts Foundation in association with Aperture; essays for Movement Research Journal, Inside Arts, Metro New York, The Italian Journal, and Performing Arts Journal.

He recently reconstructed his 1990 Obie Award winning ‘Love of a Poet’ (a staging of Robert Schumann’s ‘Dichterliebe’ song cycle), and is currently working on a 4 channel video installation ‘Escape Artist Redux’, his first solo recording ‘Beauty Kills Me’ (set for a fall 2016 release),  and ‘Time No Line’, a new performance work based on 40 years of handwritten journals.

Find out more information on his website!

Photo by Paula Court


Kyle deCamp is an NYC based interdisciplinary artist, who has performed with John Kelly since 1888. Her extensively researched projects draw on varied perspectives to explore interactions of art, architecture, history, power, collective and individual experience, creating hybrid experiences of space in live performance. Recent projects include the multimedia soloURBAN RENEWAL at EMPAC Theater, Troy NY, Crossing the Line Festival/ fiaf NYC, Théåtre de la Cité Internationale, Paris. Awards include: Bessie Award, NYFA Fellowship, NYSCA commissions and Hérmes Foundation New Settings Award. Artist residencies: LMCC Process Space/ Open Studios, Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Bard Live Arts. She is the 2015-16  Andrew W. Mellon Artist-in-Residence at Drew University.

John Jesurun is a writer, director, and media artist. He has written, directed, and designed over thirty pieces including: Chang in a Void Moon, Deep Sleep/White Water/Black Maria, Philoktetes,Firefall and Stopped Bridge of Dreams.Fellowships include the Guggenheim, MacArthur, Rockefeller, NEA, and Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Recent publications: Two new collections of texts on PAJ and NoPassport Press.

Carol Lipnik is the spellbinding, darkly-humorous singer and songwriter recently called an “ethereal vocal phenomenon” by The New York Times is the artist in residence at the East Village Boîte Pangea (performing every Sunday since Jan 2015). She just completed a three week run at Joe’s Pub in March and is the the winner of the 2015 BroadWay World New York Cabaret Award for best Alternative Cabaret Show. Her acclaimed new CD “Almost Back To Normal” was funded by a grant from the Peter S. Reed Foundation. Carol wrote the music for the songs in John Kelly’s recent show “The Escape Artist” and his upcoming CD release – “Beauty Kills Me”. Visit her website: for more info.

Kevin Malony is the founder and artistic director of TWEED THEATERWORKS, a non-profit producing organization that has been in existence for over 30 years.  TWEED has grown from tiny late night shows in East Village nightclubs to full scale productions at premier Manhattan venues.  For two decades TWEED has produced some of the most innovative and unusual performance art, musical, experimental and progressive theater in New York , including works by John Kelly, Bill Russell, Lisa Kron, Mark Dendy, Len Jenkins, Jeffrey Jones, Peter Askin, Peggy Shaw, Lola Pashalinski, John (Lypsinka) Epperson and Jackie Hoffman, among others. Kevin has worked as a director, producer and writer in venues nationally and internationally.  He met Edgar Oliver at The Pyramid Club in the mid eighties when he produced in DIAL M FOR MODEL, Edgar’s musical theater debut! He later produced some of Edgar’s early plays in The TWEED NEW WORKS FESTIVALS, and cast him in several TWEED FRACTURED CLASSICKS SERIES productions and THE TWEED MUSIC SERIES concerts.

Nicky Paraiso, currently Programming Director for The Club at La MaMa and Curator for La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival celebrating its 11th season in May 2016, has been a downtown mainstay for the last four decades, whether as a champion and presenter of other artists’ work as he often is now, as well as presenting his own complicated, intimate solo pieces, or collaborating with living legends of innovation and audacity like playwright/actor Jeff Weiss & visual artist Carlos Ricardo Martinez, composer Meredith Monk, or choreographer Yoshiko Chuma’s School of Hard Knocks, among many others. His first professional job as an actor was at La MaMa in 1979 in Jeff Weiss’s 5½ hour play, Dark Twist. He has performed with both Ma-Yi Theatre Company and National Asian American Theatre Company. Nicky’s one-man shows (including Asian Boys, Houses and Jewels and House/Boy) have been presented at La MaMa, Dixon Place, Performance Space 122, Dance Theater Workshop, Pillsbury House Theater (Minneapolis), the 4th Int’l Festival of Cabaret (Mexico City), the KO Festival (Amherst College), Dublin Theatre Festival and the Initiation Performance Festival in Singapore (both in 2007). Paraiso’s awards include a 1987 BESSIE New York Dance & Performance Award, a 2004 Spencer Cherashore Fund grant for mid-career actors, a 2005 NY Innovative Theater Award, and the 2012 BAX Arts and Artists in Progress Arts Manager Award. Nicky is a graduate of Oberlin College & Conservatory and NYU’s Graduate Acting Program. He has served on various theater, dance and music panels, and has also been a member of both the BESSIE Awards Selection Committee since 2006 as well as the OBIE Awards Judges Panel for Season 2013-2014. His writing appears in the anthology Love, Christopher Street: Reflections of New York City (2012), edited by Thomas Keith.

Lucy Sexton works in dance, theatre and film. Beginning in the 1980s, she and Anne Lobst created, performed and toured with the seminal dance-performance group DANCENOISE; their work was featured in a retrospective at the Whitney Museum in July 2015. She also performs as The Factress, often in collaboration with Nurse Baby Asparagus, aka Mike Iveson. With Kathie Russo, she developed and directed the OBIE-Award winning Spalding Gray, Stories Left to Tell at The Minetta Lane Theater, and directed Tom Murrins’s Magical Ridiculous Journey of Alien Comic at PS 122. Sexton has produced 2 documentaries, Charles Atlas’s The Legend of Leigh Bowery for the BBC and Arte, and Turning with Antony and the Johnsons. She is currently the Executive Director of the NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies.

Coffeehouse Chronicles


Coffeehouse Chronicles is an educational performance series exploring the history of Off-Off-Broadway. Part artist-portrait, part history lesson, and part community forum, Coffeehouse Chronicles take an intimate look at the development of downtown theatre, from the 1960s’ “Coffeehouse Theatres” through today.

Special Event