John Kelly: Underneath the Skin

a performance by John Kelly

Created and performed by John Kelly, Underneath the Skin, is a new solo work of dance-theater drawn from the life of the societal and sexual maverick, Samuel Steward (1909-1993). A novelist, poet, and scholar, Steward abandoned his post as a staid university professor to reinvent himself as a writer of gay erotic fiction (aka Phil Andros), and as one of the 20th century’s most accomplished and influential tattoo artists (aka Philip Sparrow). He had trysts with Valentino, Lord Alfred Douglas, and Roy Fitzgerald (aka Rock Hudson); attracted the friendships of Gertrude Stein, Thornton Wilder, and Andre Gide; and having meticulously recorded every sexual encounter he ever had in his “Stud File,” became an unofficial collaborator at the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research in the 1950s.
In this NYU Skirball commission, Kelly virtuosically combines Steward’s drawings, letters, photographs, and manuscripts, with video projections and digital animations of Steward’s tattoo designs and erotic illustrations, into a kaleidoscopic salute to a queer rebel.
This performance contains mature themes. Appropriate for ages 18+
Presented by NYU Skirball Center; co-sponsored by the NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality