1. Tim (2015)
    Tim (2015)
  2. Triptych after Eve Elloree from ONE Magazine
    Triptych after Eve Elloree from ONE Magazine
  3. Jockstrap (2013)
    Jockstrap (2013)
  4. Burt Reynolds (2015)
    Burt Reynolds (2015)
  5. A Streetcar Named Desire (2015)
    A Streetcar Named Desire (2015)
  6. #5 Skip Arnold at Jewel Box (November, 1959) from GLAMA's archive (2013)
    #5 Skip Arnold at Jewel Box (November, 1959) from GLAMA's archive (2013)
  7. Fan Postcard of 'The Most Talked About Nite Club' in the Midwest from GLAMA's archive (2013)
    Fan Postcard of 'The Most Talked About Nite Club' in the Midwest from GLAMA's archive (2013)
  8. 'Between Consenting Adults' after Eve Elloree from ONE Magazine May 1959 (2013)
    'Between Consenting Adults' after Eve Elloree from ONE Magazine May 1959 (2013)
  9. Detail of I Like Ike (2013)
    Detail of I Like Ike (2013)
a mystic bond of brotherhood makes all men one
Third spaces are places where we spend our “third-most” amount of time. Work and home are often the first two spaces. The third spaces of bars, libraries, and parks take center stage in this project. Audio recordings – displayed as children’s board books – of queer discussions in bars in the greater Kansas City area are motion activated by patrons walking by in the stacks of the UMKC Reece Nichols Library. An original score of Heartland Men’s Chorus members’ voices inspired by the once “cruising loop” of Liberty Memorial Park, plays as patrons walk out of the 2nd floor elevator. While listening to the audio mash-up, patrons are invited to share their stories by responding to the prompt “I realized ‘it’ mattered when…” These responses continually are added to a book that is also on view.

Keehn’s investigation of third places has its underpinnings from a previous site specific project, “An Otherwise Hopeless Evening”, that revealed a history of queer culture that has been silenced in the Greater Kansas City region. Continuing to foster existing relationships and develop new ones in the LGBTQIA community (with support from the Heartland Men’s Chorus, Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA), and the gay performing community), “A Mystic Bond of Brotherhood Makes All Men One” further advances the queer art movement in the Kansas City region.

Public involvement was imperative for the realization of this project. Each installation of “A Mystic Bond of Brotherhood Makes All Men One” is site-specific, responding to each participating library’s community, and mirroring the complexity and metamorphosis of the journey from the homophile experience of the 1940s to the Lesbian, Gay, Genderqueer, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Ally & Asexual one today.

Support for this work is provided by a Rocket Grants project award, a program of the Charlotte Street Foundation and the University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art. Funding is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
An Otherwise Hopeless Evening - 
Sage Inn & Lounge (Provincetown)
For it's ninth year, the Provincetown Tennessee Williams  Theater Festival expanded its understanding of Williams by focusing on his Circle of Friends. Four Tennessee Williams plays were presented together with those of four of his friends: Yukio Mishima’s The Lady Aoi, a collection of short plays by William Inge, Jane Bowles’ In the Summer House, and Carson McCullers’ American masterpiece, The Member of the Wedding. Williams orbited within a world of writers at the peak of their craft, and our circle of friends in Provincetown made it our most successful Festival ever.

An Otherwise Hopeless Evening - Sage Inn & Lounge is a site-responsive collaboration between theater, art, and LGBTQ history. Four newly anthologized William Inge plays trace four stories of extraordinary men struggling to be themselves. The show is staged within an exhibition of new artworks tackling the complex relationship between Tennessee Williams and William Inge, and is performed by an all-male ensemble of Kansas City-based actors.  

At times campy and unhinged, at other times melodramatic and deathly serious, these works reveal Inge's struggle to reconcile his sexuality with a conservative Midwestern upbringing. Unlike Tennessee Williams, Inge kept his sexuality private. An Otherwise Hopeless Evening was staged in the former Madiera Room of The Pilgrim Lounge owned by drag queen Lynn Carter. Fourteen original monoprint movie posters and additional wallpaper hangings of wood panelling demarcated the acting space and paid homeage to the orginal interior of the once drag performance space.  For the series "Last Words," Joseph would type during the prelude a suicide letter on a white hankerchiefs that was then used to clean up the blood in the final scene of Inge's The Killing.

An Otherwise Hopeless Evening -
Jewel Box Lounge (Kansas City)
"I'd give anything to see it."
Hilton Als, theatre critic for The New Yorker

"A theatrical gem... Something like perfection."
Don Adams, Kansas City Star

A collabration between New York-based director, Travis Chamberlain and Kansas City-based artist Joseph Keehn, An Otherwise Hopeless Evening was staged in an immersive theatrical environment with performers, at times, engaging directly with the audience. The production featured star-turn performances by five actors playing eleven characters across boundaries of age, gender, race, and sexual orientation. The ensemble includes Ray Ettinger, Tom Lancaster, Brad Shaw, Justin Speer, and local living legend De De Deville.

The world-premiere anthology includes two unpublished works (The Killing and The Love Death) and two rarely produced works that were published towards the end of Inge’s life (The Boy in the Basement and The Tiny Closet). At times campy and unhinged, other times melodramatic and deathly serious, these works reveal Inge’s struggle to reconcile his sexuality with his conservative Midwestern upbringing. By deconstructing the aesthetics of drag and female impersonation, performers shift rapidly between characters, settings, and time periods. At one moment an actor plays a nosy landlady in an absurdist comedy about privacy at the height of the McCarthy era (The Tiny Closet)...and the next transforms into a handsome gay hustler in a psychological thriller where suicide is intermingled with seduction (The Killing)! De De Deville also appears in “boy drag” for the first time in 18 years, portraying a closeted mortician in a play that has been credited as the inspiration for the hit TV show Six Feet Under (The Boy in the Basement). Your host for the evening is the character of Byron Todd (The Love Death) played intermittently throughout the night by every member of the ensemble.

Underscored with melodramatic abandon on a parlor organ played by André du Broc, An Otherwise Hopeless Evening of Very Gay and Extremely Grim Short Plays by William Inge offers audiences a fierce overdose of farce, thrills, melodrama, and unflinching satire!

An exhibition of original and site-responsive works, arranged alongside curated artifacts on loan from the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America (GLAMA) are on view for each performance. Works includes: portraits of Jewel Box Lounge performers as hair dye drawings of their wigs embellished on wood panels; monoprints of jockstraps (collected from the Kansas City LGBTQ community) on wallpaper samples; and a series of ink wash drawings and still life photographs of objects culled from GLAMA’s collection. Grounded in performance and queer culture, Keehn’s time-intensive use of craft techniques--such as carpentry, knitting, needlepoint, and quilting--is durational, meticulous, and riddled with dichotomies: craft/fine art, feminine/masculine, traditional/non-traditional. Ultimately, the body of work presented here reveals the subtle differences between gay and straight worlds, which are constantly in flux (and have been since before such concepts even existed).

Support for this project provided by    
Friends ($250) David Hughes, Kathleen Kunkler, Crystal Foote and Mistie Parker, Tobias Leuthardt, Missie B’s, and Steve Reed.  
Patron ($500) Christopher Leitch and Stuart Hinds in support of GLAMA and The West Plaza Tomato Company
Partner ($1,000 +) Bistro 303 
  
Special Thanks! Cathryn Simmons and Lori Buntin, Paul Messner Puppets, Charlotte Street Foundation for rehearsal spaces and Brad Trevor Hoffman and Brittney Lewis for allowing us to takeover their home for the month of February. A loving thank you to Jody Evans and Frank Lord for the endless hours of supporting their partners in realizing the project.
The Orange Party (Fort Hays)
​Under construction
Make Do - Stiefel Theatre (Salina, KS)
​Under construction