Workshops w/ D’Lo

Research has shown that public speaking is the #1 fear. The 2nd is death. This concludes that one would prefer to be in the casket at a funeral than delivering a eulogy… Jokes aside, people are truly fearful of presenting for the public. However, this does not negate the fact that there is a little performer in all of us; one who desires to creatively express, entertain, amuse, stir emotions or stir others to action.

D’Lo has been teaching creative workshops for over a decade and has created a series of workshops for writers, poets, actors and performance artists, and those who think they are not artistic! The workshops are geared to cultivate an appreciation of the arts, tackle writing or creative blocks, develop skills in public speaking and performing, and nurture environments for artists to listen, give and receive constructive feedback.

D’Lo provides several exercises that encourage creative writing with a focus on personal memories and how they can be used in artistic discoveries. D’Lo also guides participants in D’s trademark “out of body” exercises to free folks from the pressure of deciding “what” to write about. These exercises are intended to stimulate the imagination and create and harness moments of inspiration for personal and artistic development. This particular workshop offers techniques in battling writer’s block and stage fright, and stimulates the creative joys of imaginatively crafting personal herstories/histories.

All workshops, as D’Lo often mentions, are tapered to the bodies in the room. D’Lo relies on his arsenal of exercises to cater to the varying levels of artistic exposure of the participants.


Goals and Objectives

The goal of these workshops is to find personal and creative ways of expression and to develop skills in writing and performance. D’Lo has been teaching creative workshops for over a decade and has created a series of workshops for writers, poets, actors and performance artists, and those who think they are not artistic! The workshops are geared to cultivate an appreciation of the arts, tackle writing or creative blocks, develop skills in public speaking and performing, and nurture environments for artists to listen, give and get constructive feedback.

NOTE: For all workshops, please come in comfortable clothing and shoes. Bring your own snacks and water, as the shortest workshops are 3 hour long with a 15 minute break. All workshops will start on time.

For the Writer/Performer/Actor

This workshop focuses on finding a creative voice through writing and ways to enhance the written words through performance. Participants will engage in exercises that allow experimentations in writing, reading and performing work, analyzing and adapting to the challenges of different venues, connecting with audiences, and techniques to strengthen and prepare the body and voice for performance.

For the Creative Spirit

D’Lo provides several exercises that encourage creative writing with a focus on personal memories and how they can be used in artistic discoveries. These exercises are intended to stimulate the imagination and create and harness moments of inspiration for personal and artistic development. This particular workshop offers techniques in battling writer’s block and stage fright, and recognizes the creative joys of making new and creative personal histories.


For the Queers

Having lived in some of the busiest cities in North America, I have witnessed that in theater/tv/film there are still very few roles specific to the LGBTQ community. The dearth of these opportunities for queer people has been frustrating to see as someone who considers himself a community builder as well as an actor, however, it has sparked my desire to cultivate queer actors and queer actor of color pools.

Over the past  several years, I have dedicated a large majority of my work to the subject of gender and sexual orientation. In 2004, I wrote the play “Ballin with my Bois” – a hip hop theater piece comprised of monologues around gender.  The staged reading was in Los Angeles and was comprised of a cast of 90% non-actors as with the sold-out 3 week full production in New York.

In both cities, I witnessed incredible magic. It wasn’t just in my head that there were limited chances for the LGBTQ community to express themselves theatrically. Both casts were extremely excited to be given a space to test themselves on the many levels that the theater arts provides. Additionally, conversations were had where the participants reflected on how everyone should be able to experience the therapeutic effects of being involved in a theater community; where, through proper facilitation and guidance, a nurturing environment is created for each person to find and exercise their creative spirit, experimenting with issues relevant to their lives, inclusive of gender and sexual orientation.

I want my queer community to feel free in their way of communicating to themselves and the world around them: allowing us to free our tongues up from the stuff we’ve been wanting to say, but never had a chance to say.  I see these workshops playing a huge role in the growth and self-reflection process that we as queer people don’t allow for ourselves too often, nor know how. Mostly, however, I see these workshops as a more meaningful way to build community in a way that social organizations and political organizations don’t; to actually listen and hear without interruption.

1 day Master Class: Queerly I’m Creative

D’Lo has created this workshop geared specifically for the LGBTQIQTSSGL community with an emphasis on writing and performing around gender presentation and orientation.

This workshop is intended for both non-writer and non-actors as well as self-defined writers and actors. For most queer people, being seen as human is oftentimes a daily challenge. The burden of being queer bodied or queer minded causes health issues manifesting in both the mental and physical realms. In this workshop, D’Lo asks participants to be fearlessly introspective around personal health and spiritual growth. The participant will share, write and perform their personal stories, and through a series of creative exercises, will also engage in artistic conversations relating to their unique experience of identifying as queer.

Queer Masculinity Workshop

D’Lo has created this workshop geared specifically for masculine identified women (stud, ag, butch) and transgender/boi/ftm’s. The workshop revolves around gender presentation, female masculinity, butch/femme dichotomy, reactions and adoption and adaptation to heterosexuality and hetero masculinity and other breakdowns within gender and sexual orientation. Time will be allotted and structured for solely writing, but a large chunk of time will be set aside to only work on theater arts and readings for the stage.

This workshop focuses on finding a creative voice through writing and ways to enhance the written words through performance. Participants will engage in exercises that allow experimentations in writing, reading and performing work, analyzing and adapting to the challenges of different venues, connecting with audiences, and techniques to strengthen and prepare the body and voice for performance.


Feedback on D’Lo’s Workshops

This past fall, I took a writing class taught by D’Lo. I appreciate above all his commitment and insistence upon teaching. D, while empathetic and understanding of what may be going on in your personal life, is firmly against a lack of hard work in the classroom space. Also he’s just real good at what he does (his own writing/performance work) and that always serves to inspire.

– Meena Serendib (TeAda Writing Workshop Series)

D’Lo facilitated a performance based workshop at the first ‘activism for South Asian youth’-type event I attended in Toronto, when I was 21. The experience showed me how to express my politics and gave me the power to use my voice. I left the event feeling less isolated and connected to something bigger than myself – a movement.

– Rachna Contractor (Toronto Youth Workshop)

Some great news since then – 3 of us from the workshop will be performing on stage for the South Asian version of the Vagina Monologues, called Yoni Ki Baat (Talk of the Vagina)! For me, I know it was this workshop that gave me the confidence and skills to do so. It will be my first time to actually perform like this on stage. Thank you so much D’Lo and thanks to everyone else for participating in that workshop. U and G are also performing and they have even written their own pieces!

– Farah (Seattle Writing Workshop)

Translating Community Stories Master Class, taught by D’Loco Kid, was strikingly powerful in its core lessons: Listen. Hold those stories. Treat them well. No exaggeration. Just honor. As a poet, rapper and chant artist, it was evident that I still had much to learn; for, I thought embellishment or amplified theater/theatrics had to be added to make a community experience heard to non-members. Through D’Lo’s full immersion technique where, paired off, workshop attendees alternated storytelling and re-telling mirroring the tone and mannerism of the narrator without adding flare, I saw that sticking to the script actually works. I would absolutely recommend this workshop to all community artists committed to authenticity and solidarity!

– Shayna SheNess Israel (Philadelphia Performance Workshop)

Participants from D’Lo’s Workshop with Satrang (Queer South Asian and South Asian Immigrant Workshop)

Reflections on Satrang’s writing workshop – Alicia Virani

This workshop was a breath of fresh air and came at a time that myself and the larger queer South Asian community seemed need this space.

I remember the very first meeting, D’Lo said to us, “this is the place where you get to take up space, because you don’t get to anywhere else.”  This set the tone for a depth of honesty that I have never experienced with people whom I just met.  The 9 of us quickly fell into learning how to trust each other with our stories, written and unwritten.  This could not have happened without the numerous trust building exercises facilitated by D’Lo who led us through talking about our “coming out” experiences, our childhoods, and brought forth from us stories of loss, hope, fear, and the constant search for home.

This is the first space where I felt comfortable exploring the intersections of race and sexuality as it applies to my life.  We did this through thinking and talking about how we identify, through writing our “gender pieces”, and simply by recognizing our shared his/herstories.

I cannot pinpoint exactly what D’Lo did to make this such an emotional, deep and honest space for all of us, but I know that it was because of him that it was able to happen.  He carried us all through the process of discovery and allowed us to be ourselves without apologizing for who we are.  There were no judgments made.  What I really appreciated was that he gently, and yet forcefully pushed us beyond our comfort zones in both our writing and our self-exploration.  D’Lo does not believe that you can write when you are detached from yourself.  He made us look deep inside and drew out the natural talent in all of us.

It is thanks to D’Lo that I feel less fear around calling myself a writer, identifying as queer, and trusting the queer South Asian community.  This is a priceless gift that he has given me, maybe without even knowing.

D’Lo should be given the opportunity to continue to help others to heal and grow through writing, and also to continue working with the first group because our process has just begun.

Satrang Workshop “Coming Out, Coming Home II” facilitated by D’Lo

I participated in the Satrang sponsored workshop “Coming Out Coming Home II” that was facilitated by D’Lo. It was one of the most energizing writing experiences for me. He laid out the rules, and let us run with our inspiration. He challenged us to go deeper into our experience, and more honest in our expression, of being “the other”. He created the safe space that allowed each participant to fully express themselves with complete candor.

I would like to be able to participate in further writing events with D’Lo, and would be honored to be included.

– Juhi Kalra

My experience at the workshop, I feel, was a life-changing event.  I had always wanted to write prior, but didn’t know if I had it in me.  The workshop pushed me to put the pen to the paper and bring it out, and boy, did it bring it out of me!  I never imagined watching people laugh and cry at my coming out experience!

I will now continue writing.

– Ed Mofrad


D’LO: ACTOR/WRITER/STAND-UP

TRANSGENDER, QUEER, TAMIL, SRI LANKAN-AMERICAN