May / June 2013 Newsletter

Beast of Times flyerThe L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center presents the world premiere of a new play, The Beast of Times, by the award-winning Xicana lesbian performance artist Adelina Anthony. Performing with Ms. Anthony is the critically acclaimed Sri Lankan-American transgender performance artist D’Lo. The Beast of Times opens Friday, May 31, and runs through June 16.

Beast is a satirical and queer allegory that explores the contradictions and pains of coming to political consciousness in a world where environmental and ethnic diversity are fast diminishing. Employing incisive and poignant humor to expose the human love of greed and greed for love, the play also explores the devastating effects of environmental degradation on the planet’s non-human inhabitants. Highly entertaining and funny, Beast invites speculation about what these true “others” might say about us, if they could.

Even while it exposes our fallible natures, The Beast of Times still points toward our collective promise as an “enlightened” species. Artists’ bios available on: adelinaanthony.com and dlocokid.com/bio

(FACEBOOK)

THE BEAST OF TIMES

World premier play by Adelina Anthony (with a monologue contributed by D’Lo)
Performed by Adelina Anthony and D’Lo
Directed by Mark Valdez
May 31 – June 16
Fridays & Saturdays at 8 p.m. · Sundays at 7 p.m.
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Renberg Theatre (200-seat capacity)
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood
(one block east of Highland, north of Santa Monica Blvd. Free parking)

COST: $20: General Admission (discount tickets avail for groups)
Tickets available at: lagaycenter.org/theatre

What a D’Light! (The Hindu, Hyderabad)

by VISHNUPRIYA BHANDARAM (Download PDF)

20120909-Hindu_Hyderabad-What_a_Dlight-1
D’Lo at The Park’s New Festival (PHOTO: M. SUBHASH)

D’Lo’s performances weave into a narrative of ‘coming out’ stories

Dressed in a checked blue shirt, khaki shorts and a blue rapper cap, D’Lo’s presence is marked by an acute sense of humour coupled with an undertone of a disconcerting personal history. A queer transsexual American from Sri Lanka, D’Lo’s identity is vested in being a performer. “I do theatre, hip-hop, spoken word, stand-up comedy and more, but quintessentially I am a performer,” he says. D’Lo was in town to perform at The Park’s New Festival organised by Prakriti Foundation.

D’Lo grew up in a traditional immigrant family. Did his family come around to his sexuality? D’Lo says that his parents have seen his solo shows, after a point he stopped inviting them. Why? ‘They probably didn’t get it. I know now that they love me and we have a good relationship but their discomfort doesn’t allow me to be fierce with my work in order to make my own community aware of the things I am trying to talk about. I am not trying to cater my material to their liking, so it’s better this way,” he says. The show is made up of D’Lo’s personal story of how he became what he did through a narrative of coming out stories. He laughs and says, “You know everybody thinks, you only have to come out once. You can’t. You have to keep coming out, it never ends.” The show encapsulates the story of how D’Lo navigated the world and delves into his relationship with his family. Has he ever broken down on stage, given the personal nature of his narrative? “No,” he says promptly. “This is theatre. You process through all of that before you take it to the stage. You do all of the breakdowns and get to the stage. I am not trying to have a pity party,” he explains.

D’Lo’s intimate theatre engages comedy. Comedy too, he says is tragedy viewed in time. “Most comedians say that because the funny part is the end. You had to do a lot of work to get to the place where you can joke about it,” he says. The story for a lot of queer people, he says is that they are not just faced with adversity but also with an immense amount of intolerance, “We get doors slammed on our faces, by our family, by the world.” In community with other queer people, he says that sharing such stories is painful, “But when you are in a room with a bunch of people like you, the stuff gets outrageously funny,” he claims. “It’s so bizarre and we are just walking with love and we can’t fathom anyone being shooed away from our life because of gender and sexuality,” he adds. But comedy isn’t about seeing the brighter side, he says. He goes on to mention that there in fact is no brighter side. “There is no brighter side for somebody whose parents have kicked them out of the house and they are left alone: to fend for themselves and without love, or even access to it,” he says. D’Lo sums it up beautifully, “It’s about choosing to see darkness but still being able to cull out humour.”

Interview: D’Lo (Timeout Mumbai)

by Vikram Phukan (download a PDF copy)

As he describes himself, D’Lo is a q​ueer,​ T​amil,​ Sri Lankan­ American, political theatre performer. Currently touring India as part of T​he Park’s New Festival,​ he spoke to Vikram Phukan for a Timeout Mumbai feature. Here is the complete interview.

Let’s talk labels first, and there are several that you seem have to have taken on. Did this involve a process that involved first, a rejection of mainstream notions, before you claimed them back?

Well, I was the first to be born in the States on my appa‘s side. But because it is such a part of my upbringing, being Hindu and Tamil and Lankan, I purposely say that I am all of those things, so that through my hyphenated experience, one can understand that how I’ve lived, how I live, what I choose to create my work around, is not necessarily all that I talk about, but the lens through which I see it. And it extends to how I label myself queer and trans. Queer is a strong lens. I know a lot of heterosexual or cisgender people who look at the world with a queer lens.

What kind of audiences do you perform to? Are you a local lad speaking to his own communities or do you thrive off a sense of alienation?

I tour my theater shows to different venues nationally and internationally. I perform a lot on the university circuit, and many times I get called in very conservative/Republican schools to perform. Those performances are harder, so I’ve figured out a formula. But for the most part, it can be mixed—people of color, or queer audiences, or theatre audiences. I’ve hardly ever performed for a South Asian audience except in NYC, and even there, it is not that often. I don’t thrive off of a sense of alienation. Frankly, everything practically scares me. But I figure I gotta fake it till I make it. I know that my work changes people’s lives. What a thing to know this and hold onto it. I do this for that. For the sense of finally feeling not alienated. For the sense of feeling like I belong. Even if it is only for an hour or so, on certain nights of the month.

Sometimes people use the ‘desi‘ and the ‘queer’ for novelty. How are you able to transcend this? Do you protect this sphere defined by your identity, your turf so to say, or is it all incidental anyway and you’re not bothered by how you’re pigeon-holed?

I haven’t ever used the word ‘desi’ because here in the States, it generally means ‘Indian’. Queer is that ‘all-encompassing’ term that works best for me. To be queer means that you are working on making ‘walking down the street’ an easy thing for everyone. This means not just queer people who look queer, but for the folks who are also differently abled. To me, to be queer means that, you know that people are not able to voice their concerns and stories, so you do everything you can to speak up for them. You understand that money and power lie in the hands of the corrupt few and you try to Robin-Hood it back to the people in subversive ways. And you understand that the personal is always political.

Lastly, being trans is the best way to describe me, by me. I’ve had top surgery, I’m not on hormones. I pass as a male many times, but my voice sounds like Mickey Mouse, so at other times I read as a dyke, even though I’ve never used that word. But I’m ok with that. I figure, as long as you’re not beating me up or yelling at me, I’m ok with however folks take me. But I always say that my preference is to be referred to in male pronouns.

How do you work in bringing some very intimate narratives into such a public arena, and as a comic? How much of it involves a lot of explaining who you are? That must get annoying but i’m sure there are audiences that totally ‘get’ you from the word go.

Comedy is tragedy given time. The stuff that I’ve been through, many people haven’t gone through. And even more importantly, I haven’t gone through even close to what other queer people have had to go through. Queer people, we survive. We try to. We try to make sense of the world and why we can’t seem to fit, when all we got is love for people and a desire to be loved by people. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a part of love? So in regards to comedy, after all the painful writing is done, after you’ve drunk your bottles, after you’ve cleaned yourself up, you re-tell the stories and very often, they are funny. Absurd. Because the intolerance towards queer people is baseless. Queer folk are usually not trying to hurt anyone. So what’s the problem?

And as for the annoying part of explaining myself over and over again… your story is your most powerful tool to change people’s mindframes. Talking, sharing. Powerful tools. So yeah, it does get mad annoying, but then again, I have the privilege to do it. So I try to do it right, and without the heavy feeling of being on repeat.

Are you selective towards stereotypes? I understand you can’t get too politically correct in your work, but because you’re also representing the communities where you come from, South Asian or queer, do you watch how far you take your material in terms of self-lampooning? Basically, how far can you push an Indian accent?

I use accents to speak in the voice of another, but all kinds of accents. 100 percent of the stuff I’ve written about my parents did happen, so I voice them the best I can, in my best Sri Lankan accent (smiles). My storytelling is über personal, so I don’t talk about things I don’t know. And ironically, I don’t know much about the mainstream/white queer scene, so I have no stereotypes to go off of. And if I did, it would probably be the most boring part of my show to perform. IN the theater, I have Sri Lankan characters who are immigrants, and these folks have accents, of course. But the joke isn’t in the accent, the jokes are in the story, how the characters think. I don’t believe that it’s right to make your material based on jokes about immigrants or people of color, or anyone really. I joke about myself mostly. My life. And I make fun of some politicians, but they’re making me the butt of their foolery, so I figure it’s fair. There are ignorant artists out there. I hope after you see my show that you see that I am not one of them.

Yes, looking forward to the show. The urban angst that informs your work, the edginess, how do you think that will play off when you’re in India performing in decidedly bourgeois settings. Indian audiences are also notoriously insular.

(laughs) Well, when I came to the Other Festival in Chennai in 04, I was doing mostly hip-hop back then, with some theatre. So I toned it down, took out the beats, performed it clearly and like poetry. I didn’t want any of the 300 folks sitting there to write off the power of hip hop. Being raised in Hip Hop culture had an equally significant role to how I walked as being raised Tamil Sri Lankan. I know how to make my work palatable not by downplaying my art, but shifting it. The goal is to be heard and loved. I’ve played for many different audiences and the goal stays the same.

I see that people who are snotty, they want to be loved and reflected just as bad as I do. These ‘snotty’ folks are usually less privileged in what they can say than I am. I have the stage, that’s freedom. I take it on as my duty to never isolate. But of course, if there are hecklers, I’ll have to kill them. (smiles)

D’Lo’s show, D’FunQT (pronounced defunct), is filled with his humorous musings, rants and stories of being a queer boy/stud/transgendered person who grew up in a strict immigrant family, trying to make it all work peacefully while radically and bizarrely challenging mindframes in choosing to exist unapologetically.

It will be performed at Mumbai’s St Andrew’s Auditorium on Mon, Sep 10th, 7 PM.

D’FunQT Three Weekends in NYC! July 6-21

D’FunQT Comes to NYC for Three Weekends!

Click for larger image.

July 6-21, 2012, 9:30pm
Friday & Saturday Only

Dixon Place
161A Chrystie St
New York, NY 10002
$15 Presale, $20 at Door

Buy Tickets Now

Directed by Steven Sapp (Universes)

D’FunQT (pronounced “defunct”) is a one-person stand-up storytelling show featuring the inimitable comedian D’Lo sharing hilarious and poignant snapshots of the worlds that shaped who he is now.

D’Lo grew up in a strict immigrant Hindu family, caught between two overzealous parents who provided a wealth of material for his self-reflective musings, rants, and side-splitting coming out stories. Written and performed Leguizamo-style, this one-person show celebrates the joy of survival in a world often intolerant of difference. As a queer boy/stud/trans person, D’Lo unapologetically takes center stage and uses his fluidly morphing form and spot-on timing to bring the fierce with the funny.

EDEN Pride Events presents D’FunQT: Stand Up or Die

EDEN Pride Events presents D’FunQT: Stand Up or Die

EDEN Pride Events is excited to bring the internationally known queer Tamil Sri L.A.nkan-American, political theatre artist/writer, director, comedian and music producer D’Lo to Oakland for ONE NIGHT ONLY to perform his one-person show D’FunQT!

This is going to be a night you won’t forget! D’FunQT is a one-person stand-up story-telling show highlighting the
key moments in D’Lo’s life that frame the person he is now.

D’FunQT featuring D’Lo
Saturday May 12th, 2012
Kaiser Lakeside Theater | Doors open at 7:30pm show starts promptly at 8pm
Free Parking inside Kaiser Parking Garage
300 Lakeside Dr | Oakland
$15 Pre-Sale Tix
$20 at door

Buy Tickets Now

D’FunQT Afterparty @O’Fasho
w/DJs Ai.Lo & LadyRyan
Disco Volante
347 14th St | Oakland
$5 donation requested

Written and performed in a Leguizamo-esque style of one-person shows, this show is filled with D’Lo’s humorous musings, rants and multiple coming out stories of being a queer boy/stud/trans person who grew up in a strict immigrant family, trying to make it all work peacefully while radically and bizarrely challenging mindframes in choosing to exist unapologetically.

About D’Lo

D’Lo has performed and/or facilitated performance and writing workshops extensively (US, Canada, UK, Germany, Sri Lanka and India). D’Lo is also the creator of the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series which have taken place with South Asian and/or Immigrant Queer Organizations nationally (LA, NY and SF).

D’Lo’s work has been published in various anthologies and academic journals, most recently: Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asia America and Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic (co-edited by Sharon Bridgforth). D’Lo holds a BA from UCLA in Ethnomusicology and is a graduate of New York’s School of Audio Engineering (SAE).

This year, D’Lo will be working on his latest solo show Minor D’Tales (dir. Mark Valdez), is internationally touring (SF, NY, Manchester, UK and 6-city tour in India) his full-length stand-up storytelling show D’FunQT (pr. defunct) and is in workshop production for his 2nd full length play Boys that Pray (dir. Laurie Woolery) which received funding from the Astraea Foundation.

About EDEN Pride Events

EDEN Pride Events is committed to bringing quality events of every genre to the Bay Area, as well as to our regional, national and international constituencies. EDEN Pride Events believe in the idea that art, in any form, makes our local and global communities better places to live. We challenge ourselves into making those ideas become realities for our team, our artists, our performers, our DJs, our vendors and our communities.

APIQWTC 25th Annual Banquet – April 21

Lunar New Year / Spring Banquet 2012

Legendary Palace Restaurant, Oakland
Saturday, April 21st, 5pm – 11pm

Lunar New Year Banquet is here!
It’s the Year of the Dragon !!!

APIQWTC would like to invite you to celebrate the lunar new year at our 25th Anniversary Spring Banquet!!! Come see old friends and make new ones. The food and performances are going to be fabulous!!! D’Lo will emcee for the night.

Phoenix Award
Entertainment
Speed Dating
Silent Auction
Raffle Prize Drawings

And More!!

Buy Tickets Now

USC Screening of “I AM” by Sonali Gulati – April 10

Join D’Lo for a post-screening discussion for Sonali Gulati‘s I Am at USC.

I Am chronicles the journey of an Indian lesbian filmmaker who returns to Delhi, eleven years later, to re-open what was once home, and finally confronts the loss of her mother whom she never came out to. As she meets and speaks to parents of other gay and lesbian Indians, she pieces together the fabric of what family truly means, in a landscape where being gay was until recently a criminal and punishable offense.

 

D’FaQto Life is coming to a campus near you!

D’FaQTo Life is coming to a campus near you!

Check out the schedule below:

March 30, 2012
Kenyon College (Ohio)

April 3, 2012
Ramapo College (NJ)

April 4-5, 2012
Brown University (Providence, RI)

Also check out:
April 5, 2012
Tendencies – Poetics and Practices
Poetry Reading along with TC Tolbert and Sarah Schulman at CUNY Graduate School, NYC

April 7, 2012
Power of One – Oregon State Univ.
NorthWest Queer Leadership Conference

April 9, 2012
UCSD

April 24-25, 2012
Cal Poly Pomona

About D’FaQTo Life

Using excerpts from D’s different solo shows, D’FaQTo Life (pronounced De Facto) is roller-coaster ride of emotions with stories executed through stand-up, spoken word/poetry, and theater. D’Lo explores topics relating to South Asia and transgender social justice from the perspective of being a child of immigrant parents, raised in hip hop culture while trying to negotiate how identifying as “queer” intersected with a passion to create political art.

JOTALOGUES: Talking Taboo in the Beast of Times at Fusion 2012

Fusion 2012 presents

JOTALOGUES: Talking Taboo in the Beast of Times

Written and performed by Adelina Anthony wth D’Lo
Dir. Mark Valdez

Thursday, March 22, 2012 – 8:00pm

Renberg Theatre, the Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 North McCadden Place
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Adelina Anthony is back in Los Angeles with a new show for one night only!

JOTALOGUES: TALKING TABOO IN THE BEAST OF TIMES, a satirical and queer allegory, which explores the contradictions and pains of coming to a political consciousness as “Other” in a world where environmental and ethnic diversity are quickly becoming passé.

Buy Tickets Now

Cherrie Moraga’s New Fire: Sky Goddesses Dance at Brava Theatre

By Lily Janiak Wed., Jan. 25 2012 at 3:00 PM

In the indigenous religion explored in Cherrie Moraga‘s New Fire–To Put Things Right Again, the sky is a female being. “During times of chaos,” says the recorded voice of a narrator, “this female force came down to Earth to put things right again.”

Things are decidedly not right in the world of this co-production by Brava Theater and cihuatl productions, especially for indigenous women of Mexico. Testimonies from both live performers and projected film interviews evoke a shared sense of indigenous female suffering: abuse, rape, poverty, separation from loved ones. But the ever-poetic Moraga, who gained prominence in the 90s with her pioneering plays about LGBT and Chicana identity, turns victimhood into strength. Bruises “rise up like huge mountains of revolt.” Owning indigenous identity is to be basura in the eyes of many, but it also means “we know where we came from.”

Descending to Earth to help right these wrongs, the sky goddesses open the production with truly supernatural force. As they dance one by one onto center stage, they keep their faces down, pointing the colorful designs on the tops of their straw hats directly at the audience. Eventually, you realize that those designs are eyes — all-seeing eyes from which the beings derive their power. Underscoring their dance is the mesmerizing soundscape of designer D’Lo. His layered sounds of breath, water, birds, rattling and the didgeridoo suggest a profusion of nature’s elements rising in concert to welcome the spirits.

New Fire contains some narrative elements, mostly centered on Vero (Dena Martinez) and El Caminante (Robert Owens-Greygrass), who both interacts with her and narrates her terrible past. But the production is more a collective ritual than a traditional drama, one in which the audience helps Vero reckon with her history and get reborn.

Moraga, who also directs, draws on the expertise and artistry of many practitioners of indigenous ritual, giving the piece a collaborative feel. Charlene O’Rourke’s singing and chanting, with Stephen Luis Cervantes and Jorge Molina on the water drums and other instruments, practically transports you to the communal fire. And conceptual artist Celia Herrera Rodriguez’s set vividly evokes the proximity of spiritual forces as well as a vital sense of community.

All of these artists sit onstage throughout the production, more as observers than performers, endowing the proceedings with their gravitas, while also inviting the audience to participate.

As with much of Moraga’s work, New Fire will resonate most with those who might not see their experience reflected elsewhere on the stage. Others will find its contemplative pace novel but nonetheless accessible. New Fire demands presence and slowness. It’s jarring at first, but Vero’s journey becomes that much more rewarding because you feel as though you are part of it. As Vero herself says, “The ceremonial way of life can be challenging,” but with it, “you can live free.”

New Fire continues through Jan. 29 at the Brava Theater, 2781 24th St. (at York St.), S.F. Admission is $10 – $30; 647-2822 or www.brava.org.