Joseph Keckler has developed a distinctive brand of performance, combining animated and unapologetically literary storytelling with a classically trained and chameleonic three-octave voice to explore the space between autobiography and fiction. Human Jukebox weaves together stories about a mother's life-threatening aneurism, her ability to summon any song she's ever heard, the existential musings of an eccentric voice teacher, and the narrator's survival strategies as a receptionist in a music publishing firm. Keckler seamlessly moves in and out of characters, spinning a dark and comic meditation on alienation, death, and memory, while uncovering the fantastic, inner life of the banal. The musical score includes a Puccini aria and several original ballads, accompanied by Keckler's blues piano.
In Cat Lady, Keckler conjures up the portrait of a mother - an artist who turns her living room into a psychological theater of sorts where cats are the actors. A domestic Dante, she weaves an epic around them, finding significance in their smallest of gestures. Keckler, in turn, mythologizes her daily actions.
These are short stories brought vividly to life with flashes of surrealism, a wry New York wit, and a finely honed sense of the absurd.