Walker Art Center

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8-Ball: Peggy Shaw

Peggy Shaw’s “supremely transgressive art explodes every box which might be used in some vain attempt to contain her: language, societal norms, sex, fashion, romance, art,” writes Craig Lucas in BOMB magazine. This legendary actor/producer/playwright—winner of three OBIEs and three Awards for Emerging Forms from the New York Foundation for the Arts—recently took time to answer some of life’s most—and possibly least—pressing questions.

What is one of the most unexpected influences on your art?

Being dirt poor, being working class, having nothing to lose.

What’s your most vivid memory from childhood?

Thinking I was born in the wrong body.

Who is your favorite villain of fiction?


What was your worst job?

Go-go dancer at the Intermission Lounge in the red-light district in Boston.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My neck, and that Sean Penn looks like me.

What is your favorite euphemism?


If you could ask one question to every person on Earth, what would it be?

Where do you find joy?

What question do you wish we asked you?

Is a million dollars too much to pay you to come and perform? Plus a per diem.

To My Chagrin: Peggy Shaw

Photo: Dona Ann McAdams