Wednesday, February 1, 2012

La JohnJoseph Interview


With a new show,'Boy In A Dress' ready to open in two weeks, I spoke to the fantastic performance artist La JohnJospeh about his life,work and new shows.

1 - So your quite busy at the moment preparing for your new show, tell me about that ...

It's called "Boy in a Dress" and it's a two-hour collage of my three memoir shows, it's unusual because it's a solo show played by two people, myself and Ann Lewenhaupt.

It takes stories from my childhood on the council estates of Liverpool, the strip clubs of New York, ad the streets of Berlin, and strings them together with humor, pathos and reworkings of my favourite songs.


2 - What can people expect from the new show?


To be entertained and challenged in equal measure, I hope. I am giving them the opportunity to take a look into a very personal, quite deranged world, and to see things from an unexpected point of view.

3 - How would you describe your shows and how would you begin to class and describe yourself as a performer?

I think New York magazine put It best, "Like Cindy Sherman dressing as David Bowie dressing as Cindy Sherman."




4 - You have stated before that as a child you wanted to be a priest(!) ... quite a shocking statement I must say. Where did that dream end and when did you spark an interest to perform?

I fell out of love with the idea of being a priest in my late teens, and didn't find performing until my early twenties. In between I was in fashion, which was by far the least interesting segue between the two I can imagine. I actually was never attracted to the performative aspects of the priesthood but rather by the solitude it offered.


5 - Growing up were you always creative and outgoing?

 No, I was very shy, I still am. I found it very hard to talk people until I knew them well, and had almost no friends at all as a result. I was very insular and read a lot.



6 - One of the reasons I am strongly attracted to your work is the subject of Gender Identity. What is it about this topic that interests you?

 It's one of the most prominent discussions in my life , so naturally it comes out vividly in my work too. I feel that my performances are a manifesto of my gender, for my own sake, as much as they are an explanation to the audience.


7 - Most of your work and looks are still,to a degree,considered taboo...do you feel like there are enough artists out there tackling the issues you do?

No, but that's what makes it interesting. Artists talk about sex and sexuality of course, but their intersection with other issues, such as class and religion is not exactly fashionable. My friend Stevie Hanley is a painter who investigates these things in a convergent manner, which is I think why I am so drawn to his work.


8 - Who and want inspires you and your work?

Penny Arcade, Angela Davis, the horrendous state of the society we live in and the belief that We can change it.


9 - You currently live in Berlin,one of my favourite cities, what is it about Berlin that you are attracted to?

 I moved to Berlin in a whim, just as I over to New York. It just seemed like the obvious move, and I haven't regretted it, yet!

10 - What else have you planned for 2012 and where can people see/hear from you?

 That would be telling! But you can always check www.lajohnjoseph.com for updates! 

A big thank you to the lovely La JohnJoseph!

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