Nov 16, 2022

La MaMa LiveTalks: John Kelly and Joe E. Jeffreys

John Kelly and Joe E. Jeffreys

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Drag historian and dramaturge Joe E. Jeffreys speaks with renowned performance artist John Kelly about the subject of his upcoming show: Underneath the Skin, chronicling the life of iconoclastic gay tattoo artist Samuel Steward.

John Kelly is a performance and visual artist. His character-driven performance works stem from autobiographical, cultural, and political issues, the challenges faced by social outsiders, and the nature of creative genius. Kelly’s works have received 2 Bessie Awards, 2 Obie Awards, 2 NEA American Masterpiece Awards, a CalArts/Alpert Award, a Visual AIDS Vanguard Award, the Ethyl Eichelberger Award, and a Mabou Mines ‘Ruthie’ Award.

Joe E. Jeffreys is a drag historian, dramaturge, and video artist. He has published in academic journals including The Drama Review, Theatre History Studies, and Women & Performance, essay anthologies including We Will Be Citizens: New Essays on Gay and Lesbian Theatre and Art, Glitter and Glitz: Mainstream Playwrights and Popular Theatre in 1920s America, encyclopedias and in the popular press including The Village Voice, Out, and The Advocate. Jeffreys has been interviewed about the art of drag by a wide range of media outlets including Time, The New York Times, The Guardian, the BBC, Entertainment Tonight, L’Obs, Vice and Food and Wine and featured as a talking head on the subject in documentaries including P.S. Burn This Letter Please, Ruminations and Miss Rose Wood. For the past decade Jeffreys has actively video documented the NYC drag scene and this work has screened internationally at festivals, museums and galleries including The Museum of Arts and Design and The Tate Modern. Samples of his video work can be seen at

La MaMa LiveTalks


La MaMa LiveTalks are conversations with artists, activists and thought leaders from around the country and around the world who join in discussions about art and life in time of crisis. La MaMa will continue to use emerging technologies to create a new venue for artistic expression that questions how art can function and how we as a society can survive challenging periods of history.

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