Kevin J Thornton
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Kevin J Thornton

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Comedy Acoustic

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"Quotes"

"charms with honesty and laughs" -Watermark Orlando
"...an enthusiastic musician, a quick-witted comic and a really funny storyteller." -Orlando Sentinel
"the audience...was on the edge of their seats" -The Daily City
"Hilarious...you sure as hell want to know what Thornton will do next." -Orlando Theatre
"...an uproarious, bittersweet road trip through his personal tale of love, heartbreak, and endless struggle for personal growth." -DC Theatre Scene
"...Love, Sex and BLOOD!"- MD Theatre
"Exhilarating" -Gaywired
"Hilarious"- Cincinnati Enquirer
"Infused with great imagery and heart... Really good" -LA Splash
"Thornton is engaging and funny and cute as Hell..." -Newcity Chicago
"Thornton's comedic timing is spot on" -NUVO Indianapolis
"Hilarious" -Unzipped
"A sexual and romantic odyssey" -EDGE Los Angeles
"Groundbreaking" -Out and About
"Striking a remarkably different chord... Wide reaching appeal" -Shepherd's Express Milwaukee
"Memorable and Moving" -NUVO Indianapolis

- Various


"Sex, Dreams & Self Control Review"

The Cavern Club Theater is one of those places that you're always surprised to learn about—despite the fact that it's always been just around the corner from you. Located in the basement of Casita del Campo, a popular Mexican restaurant located in the funky, arty Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, the Cavern Club hosts an array of underground theater ranging from performances by drag personalities Jackie Beat and the Boofant Sisters to original, gay-themed plays like the increasingly popular Chico's Angels, a gay Latin take on TV's Charlie's Angels that routinely plays to sold-out audiences. Seating only 62 people, the small, intimate black box space is the perfect venue for Kevin Thornton's one-man show Sex, Dreams and Self-Control, an exhilarating and revealing performance that showcases both Thornton's dry wit and his original songs.

Obviously inspired by the humorous musings of David Sedaris and the cabaret style of Sandra Bernhard, Thornton has created a show about his life told through monologue, spoken word and song. Detailing his experiences growing up gay in a religious family, Thornton recalls being groomed to become an evangelist preacher ("If you would like to instill delusional hunger for power in a child, put him in front of a bunch of people and encourage to tell them what God wants them to do—and they will believe you"), trying his hand at home-made porn as a teen ("We were the first in the neighborhood to have a video camera... so I did what any normal 12-year-old boy would do: I filmed myself jacking off"), his first sexual exerience with another boy (the song "After-Bible Study Handjobs" is a riot) and, eventually, coming to terms with his sexuality and coming out. Thornton covers such familiar territory with a wink and a nudge to the audience, telling his personal tales of woe with a spirited matter-of-factness that never feels fake or forced. Indeed, by eschewing self-pity for humorous reflection, he lifts the sometimes melodramatic material and makes it celebratory, capping off each section with a song that ties it all up. In the following clip, Thornton recalls his early-'20s crush on screen legend (and fellow Marion, IN native) James Dean...

Thornton was in fine voice and spirit last weekend, despite playing to admittedly less-than-capacity audiences. But lack of a strong turn-out has more to do with the fact that Thornton is a relative unknown in Los Angeles—he's a much bigger celebrity in Nashville, where he is known as the frontman for the New Wave pop group Waves On Waves. It certainly has nothing to do with the strength of the show, which will obviously benefit from playing to larger houses.

The show continues at the Cavern Club through April 12, after which it will move on to Chicago's BOHO Theater for three weekends. Whichever city you might be able to see it in, it makes for a very entertaining and poignant evening.


- Gaywired LA gaywired.com By Ken Knox


"I Love You (We're Fucked) (Review) By Julie Mullins"

CRITIC'S PICK
What makes revealing personal anecdotes compelling? Perhaps it’s peeling back the layers of detail to get at the heart of emotions — if not situations — we can all identify with, with what’s human.
By revealing plenty and walking cheerfully to comfort’s edge with TMI (too much information), the stand-up comedian/storyteller/singer-songwriter Kevin J. Thornton pretty much kept the audience in the palm of his hand during his sold-out opening performance of I Love You (We’re Fucked) on June 3.
And for good reason: he’s a fast-talking, high-energy powerhouse of a performer. What’s more, he’s damned funny.
Through his signature mash-up of stand-up and original Folk/Country-inspired music, he tells tales, sings, and plays guitar and harmonica. He possesses solid musical chops, honing his skills over the years as a professional musician in Nashville.
Oddly, Thornton started the performance dressed like a Wall Streeter at lunchtime — shirt, tie, suspenders — before gradually removing articles of clothing as the show progressed, down to pants and a wife-beater T-shirt. He said he was hot (and the ArtWorks Gallery space was indeed hot).
Audiences might remember Thornton’s popular debut solo act, Sex, Dreams & Self-Control, from the 2009 Fringe. He brings some similar themes to the table this time: growing up gay in the Bible Belt, church lock-ins, summer camp, sexual stirrings and heartache. He adds to the mix some cheesy, silly ’80s pop cultural references, from Prince lyrics and Footloose to Aussie Scrunch Spray, Duran Duran’s hair and that terrible TV show Silver Spoons, starring his 12-year-old crush (and mine), Ricky Schroeder.
In a segment he calls “Blood Stories,” Thornton creeps us out with true tales of gore, from his own life and the news — recounting that Greyhound bus beheading from a few years back, for instance. After the audience grew silent, he’d say, “I lost the room — right then!” or “Some of you hate this part of the show,” before singing out “Blood Stories” as he claps and gleefully dances around, tickled pink at having “had” us. “Now you’re with me!” And we were, the whole time.
But no matter how irreverent Thrornton’s topics become, he really knows how to connect with audiences through humor and moments of poignancy. Plus, he’s honest, open and totally unself-conscious — just check out the image on the back of the program: a dreamy-eyed, discreetly nude photo of him in bed that shows off one of his elaborate arm tattoos.
Thornton is a consummate comedian, but he weaves in memorable moments of heartfelt philosophy, too. He plays with words, expressions and aphorisms like so many toys. “Time heals all wounds, but time’s running out,” he repeats. He talks about returning from L.A. to his roots in “the broken Heartland” over a winter in Southern Indiana to recover from a painful breakup. He ponders the origins of phrases like “when the shit hits the fan” and “balls to the wall.”
Because Thornton is such an engaging, passionate storyteller with a good dose of goofiness about him, whatever he’s talking about, we’re along for the ride. And we can’t help laughing — and feeling.

RandyW
I Love You (We're F**ked) my rating- 4 out of 4* We have become fans of Kevin Thornton, the writer/performer of this show based on his fringe show Sex, Lies, and Self-Control from two years ago. This is a better show- tighter, more polished, funnier. It is about love and loosing love, but it is heavily punctuated with such fringy elements as a verse repeated as punctuation, musical interludes, stories consistent with the premise, and a surprising interlude of 5 'Blood Stories' that I have to stretch to fit into the theme. It all works. It was a packed house on the first night. We walked out very happy to have shared the hour with Kevin.

- City Beat Cincinnati


""I Love You (We're F'ed)" Charms with Honesty and Laughs"

Kevin J. Thornton learned at a young age the best way for him to charm someone was to get them to see him onstage. That approach didn’t work out so well when he tried to seduce his high school crush (a guy) by fronting a Christian rock band, but the out, proud, and seductively tattooed Thornton is charming Orlando audiences onstage in I Love You (We’re F*#ked).

Thornton tells candid stories about his life with humor that vacillates between faux arrogance and self-deprecation, putting the audience at ease. He reveals events in his life with the steady rhythm of a storyteller, breaking the tales up with jokes and original songs that he plays on guitar and sings with a bit of a twang.

Most of the material is about Thornton’s experiences with love and sex. No doubt all can relate to the human experience of his stories, but gay men in particular will find familiarity in the events. Recounting himself as a cocky young gay man buffeting the advances of a less desirable man, Thornton says, “It’s easy to imagine yourself the winner before the contest has even started.” We know that guy, we were that guy.

Thornton calls one portion of the show “Blood Stories” because, well, the stories have to do with blood. In one story, he recalls an injury at summer camp that left the doctor’s office bloody. This segment made some audience members nauseous, prompting a man behind me as we were exiting after the show to remark that he could “done without that part.” Personally, I was too busy laughing to be queasy.

Much has been said around the beer pasture about Thornton’s looks, but let me assure you, he’s more than a pretty face. It is also worth noting, lest you be led astray by the provocative show posters with Thornton’s bare ass, that he does not appear naked in the show. Maybe you figured that out on your own when you were highlighting the shows with nudity warnings in your Fringe listing.

It could be said, though, that Thornton’s honesty finds him figuratively naked before us. While he insists he is just telling stories and has no message, he delivers one just the same: “Love is a bitch, but you should do it again anyway.”
- Watermark Orlando Written by Scottie Campbell


Discography

Thornton Had A Sword
Waves On Waves
Like An Animal B-Sides, Demos & Unreleased Tracks
Sex, Dreams & Self Control
January Dream
Strange Songs For Lovers

Photos

Bio

AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS: Favorite Show- Orlando Fringe
"Best Writing & Performance" -Cincinnati Acclaim Awards
"Kept the audience in the palm of his hand during the sold out performance... he’s a fast-talking, high-energy powerhouse of a performer." -Cincinnati CityBeat

In a way, Kevin J Thornton is a throwback to the golden age of entertainers on the vaudeville circuit-- he sings, he tells jokes, he truly entertains his audiences in clubs, Pride Festivals and on the underground Fringe Festival circuit. However, Thornton's show is anything but old fashioned. His stories and songs comment on sexuality, religion and American life in a new century.

His one-person odyssey’s are a fusion of stand-up comedy, Sedaris-like storytelling and original music akin to Ryan Adams and John Hiatt. He includes original music from his past and current albums and popular covers from his YouTube channel.

Thornton spent the early 2000s building a reputation as a professional musician in Nashville, TN. His first effort entitled Had A Sword won the Nashville Scene Music Award for Best Experimental Rock. During that time he worked as an actor, ironically, to pay the bills. He appeared in several professional theatre productions, playing John in John and Jen at the historic Tibbit's Opera House in Coldwater, MI. and in a sketch comedy group aboard a luxury ship in South America.

During that time he began writing a series of short stories that described his hilariously heartbreaking coming out story. These vignettes eventually became his one- man debut “Sex, Dreams & Self-Control” which he took on the road in 2009. The show received unanimous praise, including a nod from the Los Angeles Times and NPR’s “All Things Considered”.

Los Angeles Times "Best Bet"
"Darkly Funny" -Nashville Scene
"Intimate Brilliance... A Must See..." -Showbiz Chicago
"a riveting and rewarding experience" -Cincinnati CityBeat
"Funny and poignant... beautifully executed" -Frontiers Los Angeles

In a daring move Kevin bared all for the men’s nudie magazine Unzipped.

Since 2009 he has released six albums, including the soundtrack to “Sex, Dreams & Self Control” as well as an illustrated book version of the show. His new wave rock project Waves on Waves has appeared numerous times on the MTV Network LOGO’s PopLab, and the network uses one of the videos as its High Def Tivo commercial.

Thornton is set to release his second book "The Universe Sock Puppet" and publishes his own magazine (just like Oprah) 3-4 times a year.

Thornton is a "New Faces Winner" at the World Famous Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip. He's also a YouTube Partner, with several channels and characters and streams his shows live along with other special events on Ustream.tv.

Testimonials

Kevin was Hilarious! Had me giggling in my seat! Great On-Stage and Off-Stage Personality!
-
Jerry Ehlen Mobile Alabama Pride

I wanted to share my professional experiences concerning Kevin Thornton's performances. I am co-owner and Artistic Director for The ComedySportz Theatre in Indianapolis, We have had the privilege of hosting two of Kevin Thornton's shows. The first show was “Sex, Dreams & Self Control” during the 2009 IndyFringe Theatre Festival. The second show was “An Evening with Kevin Thornton” a one-night event in our theatre in 2010.
In both cases, not only was Kevin a complete professional in his handling of arrangements, he also provided wonderful, entertaining, and insightful performances. He possesses and conveys a wonderful sense of humor, but he pairs that with great storytelling through word and song. He has been simply delightful to work with, and I would gladly welcome him back for future performances.

Sincerely,
Edward A. Trout
Vice President, Way Cool Productions
Artistic Director & Director of Operations, ComedySportz Indianapolis

As a gay male, every piece of his story struck some kind of chord or memory of mine. I was able to laugh at Kevin's coming out story and my coming out story at the same time, which made the piece stay with me. Our audience here in Cincinnati loved the show both times, and we strive to bring performers like Kevin to Cincinnati.
--
Sammy Kanter
Associate Producer
Know Theatre of Cincinnati
Cincinnati Fringe Festival
"Just Left of Off Broadway"
513.300.KNOW (5669)

I had no breath in my lungs as a result of Kevin J. Thornton and the things he seems to think are fit to say in public. My doctor will be calling you. He wants to know where Kevin is playing next.
Ray Rizzo - Creator/Director of Motherlodge
The Rudyard Kipling, Louisville, KY

Past Appearances

Atlanta: Basement Theatre
San Francisco: Fringe Festival Exit Theatre
Minnesota: Fringe Festival HUGE Theater
Kansas: Fringe Festival,
Orlando: Fringe Festival
Mobile Alabama: Pride Festival VIP Party
Phoenix: Fringe Festival, Space 55
Tucson: Fringe Festival, Screening Room, Beowulf Theatre
New York City: Frigid Festival
Los Ange