John Kelly Brings THE ESCAPE ARTIST to Bryn Mawr College Tonight
The 2013-14 season of the Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series continues in the New Year with The Escape Artist from Bessie and Obie Award-winning performance artist, musician and actor John Kelly. The New York Times said of the piece: "You realize what you're watching isn't so much an artist inventing himself as inevitably discovering the true self within." The performance takes place tonight, January 24, 2014 at Goodhart Hall, Bryn Mawr College.
In The Escape Artist, John Kelly is a stressed-out performer who has a catastrophic trapeze accident while rehearsing a theater piece based on the life of the Italian Baroque painter Caravaggio. Confined to a hospital gurney, he finds refuge in Caravaggio's images of sinners and saints, prostitutes and gods. The work is Kelly's most recent collection of original songs in collaboration with Carol Lipnik and depicts Kelly's signature blend of wit and darkness. It is regarded as one of Kelly's most impressive performances not only because he combines a diverse range of topics in his surreal yet humorous narrative, but he also manages to very energetically sing the entire piece lying flat on his back.
Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series Coordinator Lisa Kraus notes, "John Kelly is a performance artist with a cult following who appeals to a broader audience because his work is highly visual, deeply musical and altogether moving. He often takes inspiration from the genius of other artists and zooms in on Caravaggio with The Escape Artist. Kelly-meets-Caravaggio will be a rich feast."
Bryn Mawr College is located at 101 N. Merion Avenue in Bryn Mawr, PA. Tickets to individual events in the Bryn Mawr Performing Arts Series are $20, $18 for seniors over 65, $10 for students with ID and Dance Pass holders, and $5 for children under 12. Tickets, subscriptions and more information are available online through Brown Paper Tickets, at brynmawr.edu/arts/series.html or by calling 610-526-5210.
The Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series continues its season in February with a regional premier of Liz Gerring Dance Company's glacier, based on Michael J. Schumacher's nature-inspired score. Closing the season in March is master cellist Jennifer Koh's inspiring Bach and Beyond recital, featuring Bach's six Sonatas and Partitas, as well as works by modern day composers.
Kelly is a performance artist whose work ranges from mixed media dance-theatre works, to vocal concerts, to exhibitions. He has sung the music of John Cage at the San Francisco Symphony, and collaborated and recorded with Laurie Anderson, David Del Tredici, Natalie Merchant and Antony and The Johnsons. James Franco said, "[Kelly] crosses into so many worlds with quiet authority and excellence." Kelly played the lead role in Franco's film The Clerk's Tale (Spencer Reese) in 2010. Kelly has also collaborated with John Cage and Laurie Anderson among other notable musicians, actors and artists. Antony Hegarty, of Antony and The Johnsons, calls John Kelly "one of [his] heroes."
Kelly trained as a dancer with American Ballet Theatre, the Harkness House for Ballet Arts, with modern dance pioneer Charles Weidman, and James Waring. As a visual artist he studied painting and drawing with Larry Rivers and Barbara Pearlman at Parsons School of Design, and painting at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts School. His performance studies include Decroux corporeal mime at the Theatre d'lAnge Fou in Paris, trapeze and tight-wire with the Pickle Family Circus in San Francisco, and voice with Peter Elkus at the Academia Musicale Ottorino Respighi in Assisi, Italy. His personal works embrace autobiographical, cultural and political phenomenon such as the Berlin Wall, Troubadours, the AIDS epidemic and Expressionistic Film. He also created ambitious character studies based on historic figures such as Caravaggio, Antonin Artaud and Jean Cocteau. He is a relentless seeker and questioner.
Kelly is the recipient of numerous awards including two Bessie Awards, two Obie Awards, two 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. His fellowships include the Rome Prize in Visual Art at The American Academy in Rome, The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, The Guggenheim Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts, and Art Matters, Inc.
Kelly's 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 is currently working on a memoir.