Monday, April 13, 2015

D’ Lo: D’FunQT (defunct) by D’Lo

D' Lo - Photos by Ken Sawyer

By Joe Straw

Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center presents D’Lo D’FunQT A dedication to Queer and Trans Lives of Color written and performed by D’Lo , directed by Ken Sawyer and Produced for the Los Angeles LGBT Center by Jon Imparato, through May 3rd, 2015.  

What make D’Lo so different? Is it the haircut?  No, that’s not it. The slight Mohawk is pretty normal, and might even be a little blasé in Hollywood these days.   Is it the color of his skin?  No that’s not it either; there are plenty of brown people walking around Los Angeles who are just as dark, darker, darkest.  Pretty, in a manly sort of way, dressed up in a Dodger cap, blue t-shirt, black shirt, jeans, black adidas, and strutting around like he owns the joint.  Yep, pretty normal stuff.  

On this night, the set is eccentric.  Robert Selander’s Set Design/Scenic Artist/Master Carpenter sets the stage projecting the events of the night.  Stage right, handwritten jottings – inscribes a life – “Tamil pride” – and young photos of D’Lo as a young girl in a argyle like sweater – littered thoughts splayed out like a diary page and fulsome annotations -  descriptions of the photos plastered across the scrapped filled wall.  And small lights, improperly laid out, that illuminate the diary, placing shadows on things that were, are, and might have been. Birthday cakes, king’s crown, little red heart above “#Tamil Pride,” parents and loving family embraced in that one special moment.

D' Lo 

Upstate center, more writing, but now projections, looking like scratches on a medical professional tablet, except for

“1) folly… (Good thing I’m single),

2) …. I ≠  in 8 w Mass, I’m in.”

“? Masculinity  Beautiful  in
– Dick – Transition”

And all around there are words, thousand of words that make a life, but only for someone willing to stop a moment and read. Which leads us to stage right, of baby pictures, pictures of sisters, beautiful loving sisters, and an obtrusive mic suspended and ready to be reached, to project, and make a point.  

From the skylight above, peacefully, soft lights hang from the ceiling and burn like wickless candles, a faint flicker of something that was, that might have been, that moves on to another stage.  

These are all a marvelous accouterment to a brilliant evening of theatre of a life, from a person who will not give up to tell his part of a wonderful story – all in a somewhat linear fashion – divided by thoughts that flash from the edges of a steady stream of consciousness.

And there D’ Lo stands, telling us his life, a life, one life, of being someone special, different, but the same as you and me, all told from another perspective, his perspective.

“D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American interdisciplinary artist…” – The program.

The night starts out with D’Lo coming out like a rock star with a hoodie draped over his head, styled as an urbane hip hop artists ready to shout lyrics to this capacity crowd.

But that was not to be as D’ Lo explains: “I don’t talk like that.”

Now, D’ Lo’s voice is calm and in a higher range, his face clement, an ethereal beauty, in his manner and presentation.  He tells us this night is going to be different, here on the stage, he is going to do this, this part of the stage is slam poetry, and this part is his family.

And overall, the night is filled with rhyme, fun filled dramas, heartbreaking intense events in his life.  The night, in short, is an emotional story of color and light of how one is treated after a lifestyle is presented in full living color.  

Little is said about D’ Lo’s relationship to other women, they come, they have a relationship, and then someone is thrown out, usually D’ Lo.  One would like a few more details to even out the night.

That said, D’ Lo is a splendid performer who manages to bring his entire family to full light. The father and mother are both marvelous characters richly portrayed complete with faults of their own. One scene, with her sister, has her kissing her “girl doll” a little too long and being embarrassed by it.  

“Only bad people have sex!” – D’ Lo

Ken Sawyer, the director, does a fantastic job turning bit of pieces of D’ Lo’s life and giving it a structure, a movement, a time and a place saying don’t be alarmed this is a story of a man with a different perspective, but in another reality, normal, a new normal.

Other members of this delightful crew are as follows:

Matt Richter – Lighting Designer
Patricia Sutherland – Production Manager
Adam Earle – Board Operator
Kathleen Jaffee – Stage Manager
Caitlin Rucker – Electrics
Ken Werther Publicity – Press Relations
Norman Cox – House Manager
Jon Imparato – Director, Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center
Katie Poltz – Program Manager, Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center
Matt Walker – Coordinator, Lily Tomlin/JHane Wagner Cultural Arts Center
Norman Cox, Giorgis Despotakis, Dominic Fury, Josh Goldman, Sofia Varona – Box Office Staff

Jon Imparato makes it a point to welcome everyone to the Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Arts Center and particularly to The Davidson/Valentini Theatre.  This is one of the best intimate theatres in town.  

Run!  Run!  Run!  And take someone with a wild imagination who likes to dress up.

Tickets: or call 323-860-7300

Davidson/Valentini Theatre
1125 N. McCadden Place
Hollywood, CA 

D' Lo 

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