Joseph Keckler comes back to town, with Lydia Lunch

Keckler has made a name for himself as a revolutionary opera singer and a witty raconteur.

Joseph Keckler, a singer, writer, and multifaceted artist who wowed local audiences with his Vashon debut in 2022, will return to Vashon Center for the Arts for another memorable evening of vivid stories and stirring songs, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28.

This time, he’ll be joined by special guest, the legendary New York musician and writer Lydia Lunch, on the heels of their joint Australian tour.

Joseph Keckler has made a name for himself as a revolutionary opera singer, a stunning performance artist, and a witty raconteur. His expressive voice, operatic arias, monologues, and songs dance between comedy, commentary, and communion, critics have said.

Keckler has performed his hybrid of opera and theatrical monologue at New York’s Lincoln Center, Hammerstein Ballroom, and Public Theatre and major venues across the country and in Europe. But he’s also at home in small clubs, fringe theatres, and rock venues.

He has created numerous songs and short films and is the author of the essay and story collection “Dragon at the Edge of a Flat World,” published in 2018 by Turtle Point Press.

The New York Times has called Keckler a “major vocal talent with a range that shatters the boundaries… and a trickster’s dark humor,” calling his performances “phenomenal.”

Keckler was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with a knack for the kind of dark theatricality you’d expect to see in the film “Harold and Maude.” As a child, he listened to Bessie Smith, Cab Calloway, and Aretha Franklin, and when he heard Screamin’ Jay Hawkins sing his signature song, “I Put a Spell on You,” he found a new hero.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ blend of theatrical camp and vocal depth became a sort of gateway to opera and performance art for Keckler. Years later, as a student at the University of Michigan, Keckler would go on to study under renowned performance artist Holly Hughes and the ground-breaking operatic tenor George Shirley.

Now an accomplished performer in his own right, when asked how he would define himself today, Keckler said he’s an “interdisciplinary artist… I’m a bewildered person who does things. I like traversing different forms.”

Tickets are now on sale for the show at