Feb 22, 2018
Mar 11, 2018

Time No Line

By John Kelly

a black arrow pointing downward

time no line is a solo performance based on John Kelly’s 40 years of journal writing.  The work theatrically combines his deeply personal texts with movement, video, music, song, and live drawing into a ‘live memoir’.  His experiences within the East Village art scene of the 1980’s, gender performance, and the AIDS epidemic, have defined his status as a survivor whose presence challenges the ruptures in our cultural and generational dialogue.

Cover Photo by Paula Court


Text, Movement, Video Design (center channel) and Performance by John Kelly
Video Design by CultureHub
Movement Dramaturgy by Jon Kinzel
Archival Film Sequences:
‘Me O Ye Gods’ (1992) and ‘Painting on Glass’ (1984) by Anthony Chase
in collaboration with John Kelly Performance
Video Performance by Hucklefaery
Still Photography on Video by Peter Hujar, Steven Menendez, Dona Ann McAdams, Arthur Lambert, David Armstrong and John Dugdale

JOHN KELLY is a performance and visual artist whose multifaceted career spans more than three decades. His innovative performance works stem from autobiographical, cultural, gender, and identity issues, realized through the theatrical, visual, movement-based, and vocal delineation of character.  Subjects have included the AIDS epidemic, the Berlin Wall, the Troubadours, and Expressionistic Film, and character studies based on Egon Schiele, Caravaggio, Antonin Artaud, Joni Mitchell, and Jean Cocteau.

Kelly’s performance career began in the early 1980’s with performances in New York’s East Village clubs including the Limbo Lounge, Pyramid Club, and Club 57. Subsequently, his works have been presented at a diverse range of venues including The Kitchen, La MaMa, PS 122, New York Live Arts, the Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, On the Boards, The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Andy Warhol Museum, PS 1, Walker Art Center, ICA Philadelphia, the Drawing Center, Participant Inc., and Joe’s Pub at the Public. Major commissions include BAM’s Next Wave Festival, Lincoln Center Serious Fun! Festival, MASS MoCA, and Creative Time.

Kelly has received two “Bessie” Awards (New York Dance and Performance Awards), two Obie Awards, two NEA American Masterpiece Awards, an American Choreographer Award, a Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (CalArts), a Visual AIDS Vanguard Award, and an Ethyl Eichelberger Award. Fellowships include the American Academy in Rome, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, Guggenheim Fellowship, Sundance Institute Theatre Program, New York Foundation for the Arts, Art Matters, Inc., and USA Artists Fellowship. Recent residencies include MASS MoCA, Abrons Arts Center, Gibney Dance, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Park Avenue Armory.

His visual art has been exhibited at Alexander Gray Associates, Museum of Modern Art, MIT List Visual Arts Center, ICA Philadelphia, New Museum of Contemporary Art, PS 1, and Art in General. As a singer, he has collaborated and recorded with composers David Del Tredici, Richard Einhorn, Laurie Anderson, and the Jazz Passengers. His numerous acting credits include the Broadway production of ‘James Joyce’s The Dead,’ and ‘Dido, Queen of Carthage,’ at American Repertory Theater.

‘JOHN KELLY,’ an award-winning visual autobiography, was published by 2wice Arts Foundation in association with Aperture. His first solo recording, ‘Beauty Kills Me,’ was released by Strange Troubadour Records in 2016.

More info at http://johnkellyperformance.org/wp2/

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the new york times critics pick

“Mr. Kelly packs a lot in about 75 minutes, yet he also knows when to let things breathe and he performs songs to signal both parenthesis and emphasis.” – Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Times

time out new york logo
"time out says" above four red stars

“Kelly, still lithe and gorgeous in his sixties, exudes charm and brilliance…As he shares his artistic inspirations and legacy, he crafts new work before our eyes—chalk drawings, evocative movements, duets with his younger self via archival video—

simultaneously deconstructing and demonstrating the creative impulse.”

stage biz logo

“This production hit me on a cellular level and I left the theater forever changed by [John Kelly’s] ability to raise one’s frequency to the stratosphere.”

theatrescene.net logo

“In a mesmerizing 70 minutes acclaimed performance artist John Kelly presents his memoir for the stage…With his melodious voice, charming presence and physical charisma, Kelly is commanding as he recounts his eventful life and eclectic career.” – Darryl Reilly, TheaterScene.net

the village voice logo

“Maybe all performers, perhaps all artists to some degree, are warriors. Like activists, we put ourselves on the line for a cause, because of an idea, a moral imperative, or a lusted-after imaginary scenario that we just need to bring to life and inhabit.”

gay city news logo

“The gifted performer, sometimes in drag, covers an astounding amount of territory in just 70 intermission-less minutes.”

theatermania logo

John Kelly to Present World Premiere of Time No Line at La MaMa


experience the art logo

Turning in Time: An Interview with John Kelly

the beacon logo

John Kelly’s “live memoir” entertains while enlightening audience to LGBT history

the new york times logo

John Kelly’s work has just been included in the Best Opera and Vocal Performances of 2017
– The New York Times | The Best Classical Music Performances of 2017

“This excursion into dreamland is a lovely condensation of what Mr. Kelly has achieved again and again in his three decades as a boundary-defying performance artist.  It is also a moment that manages to suggest an elaborate interior labyrinth with a few fluid physical gestures, steeped in the kind of artful simplicity that poets are always striving for.”
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“His artistic versatility is legendary in the downtown arts scene, and deservedly so.  It’s hard to think of another performer who has so successfully maneuvered through so many different artistic disciplines.  He is, for me, among the most interesting artists alive.”
– David Roman, Theatre Journal

“John Kelly is one of my favorite performers in the whole world. It’s not just that he is brilliant in so many mediums but every time I come away from seeing his work, or indeed even just speaking with him, I’m inspired to be a better artist.”
– Alan Cumming

“As a performance and visual artist, John blazes a new path with each project.  He crosses into so many worlds with quiet authority and excellence.”
– James Franco

Special Event


A New Exhibition at Howl Happening! | February 28 - March 25, 2018

Howl! Happening is pleased to present a rare look into the heart and art of a consummate creator: John Kelly’s Sideways into The Shadows. Resonating and in conversation with Kelly’s major new performance work Time No Line at La MaMa, Sideways into The Shadows is a journey through Kelly’s creative life that exposes both the unfolding of his artistic process and the generational rupture and emotional cost of the AIDS pandemic.

The exhibition consists of intimate and revealing journal entries, rendered by hand on various sized panels, and a memorial wall of lovingly-drawn portraits of friends and loved ones Kelly lost to AIDS. “Beginning in 1982, my friends and colleagues were dying,” says Kelly. “AIDS has framed my story to an unavoidable degree. Their absence remains part of my work.”

More information online at Howl! Happening: https://www.howlarts.org/event/john-kelly-sideways-into-the-shadows/
Howl! Happening
6 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003