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Queer Lip Syncing

Queer Lip Syncing

The queer community has a long love affair with lip syncing. For some of us, lip syncing has been about gender expression, for some it’s a tongue-in-cheek perversion of mainstream culture. It’s an ordinary and somewhat expected sight at our festivals and parades. And it’s not just the men dressed up as women or the women dressed up as women, or those of us who express androgyny, it’s the women dressed up as men. Drag King style. It shocks me when someone hasn’t heard of Drag Kings before.

This photo is from a Drag King Battle that was held in Melbourne and hosted by the notoriously handsome, Rocco D’Amore. Through the sheer power of crowd persuasion, I won the battle and left with $100 and a trophy in my hand. My song? Set it Off by our own, Timomatic.

I always wanted to do live drag – where I actually sing. Laurie Anderson style. Performance art has a long love affair with gender.

Performance Anxiety

Performance Anxiety

Give a lip sync challenge to a team of ‘A-type’ personalities and results-producers in life, and what are you going to get? Performance anxiety. Where’s my prop? Can I use props? Will there be a microphone stand? Do I have to hold a mic and what if it gets in the way of my dance moves? Will I have learnt the lyrics to my song by Friday? Which song should I pick out of these two? How come I still look like a man in this wig?

How much can preparation circumvent performance anxiety? Does it give us the confidence and self-backing to perform or is it better to put it all aside and simply show up on the night? Some preparation I’m hearing about from my colleagues includes everything from the classic singing into a hairbrush to dedicated mirror-work, lip control and being with oneself in the mirror. Learning lyrics, trying out dance moves and studying the lip syncing work of others…

Here’s one of my favourites from Emma Stone – check out that mouth!

Lip Sync Battle…

Lip Sync Battle…

Whoever put me in charge of our work End of Year function may now be regretting it. I’ve been busting to get my hands on a group of people I can wrangle into doing a Lip Sync Battle. In fact, I’ve been dropping it into conversation and party suggestions for over a year. Finally, after a colleague mildly suggested I do something that gets everyone out of their comfort zones, the opportunity to battle it out while lip syncing to a pre-chosen song became obvious.

How it works:

Each contestant takes turns in lip syncing sections of well-known songs, each one of them trying to lip sync better than the other. No one knows the song the other has picked. Only the person performing knows which song is coming next.

Here’s one of the early Jimmy Fallon battles:

Being satisfied

Being satisfied

What if being satisfied in relationship was by declaration?  Werner invites us to try on – either we’re declaring ourselves satisfied in relationship or we’re committed to being dissatisfied in relationship. How can we tell? Just take a look at the laundry list of things we want to change about our relationships or we think is missing in or relationships. In giving that all away, the declaration “I am satisfied” gives an access to bliss. Such sweet bliss.

Love

Danica

Soul of Sydney

Soul of Sydney

A secret venue only released on the day of, a magic rope that becomes a game of limbo, funk and soul with a sprinkle of disco and a warm, welcoming, non-judgemental, all-colours crowd of dance-lovers – welcome to Soul of Sydney.

I love dancing with people. I love the expression and communication of movement to music. I love the pure joy of being connected to soul. Being invited by another to join them in a wild storm of energy, of sexual expression through dance and of gender play. The crowd parts, a circle is made. The tall muscular man with the ginger beard invites me in. His incredible moves drew the crowd including those hand on the hips Beyonce accents he brings – so wonderful to watch on such a masculine body. I match his every move, my eyes never leaving his, catching, falling, subliming the energy between us. He hugs and thanks me after the final pose with the applause falling around us. Many acknowledgements come my way, but the best comment S’ra tells me, was the man near her who said to his friend as I was dancing, “She’s so hot, she’s making my eyes melt.”

Love

Danica

photo credit: Soul Of Sydney

Living with neighbours

Living with neighbours

I happily lived in an isolated location on the South East Coast of NSW for 3.5 years about 10 years ago. On 40 acres, 26kms outside the nearest town on a massive stretch of river, I could go a whole day without having spoken to anyone. The post came three times a week. I had no phone, no internet, no running water, no electricity and I thought I was going to live there for the rest of my life.

Now I live in an immaculately kept apartment building in Sydney cbd with around 200 other people. And yet I could easily keep myself in isolation. Is it my wiring to be a hermit?

What is it that gives us the experience of community? Is it living with people? It would seem that living with others in and of itself is insufficient. What gives us the experience of belonging? What if we could belong everywhere?

We had a Richmont Community building bbq on the rooftop today. Community often starts with people talking to people they wouldn’t normally speak to and then building from there.

If you look out into the communities you’re a member of, how did you become a member? I wonder if it’s all through declaration. The declaration I belong here. And we belong here together.

Love

Danica

Sparking Joy

Sparking Joy

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been a hoarder. Paper has been my main crime. I think I kept everything I ever wrote anything on. A number of years ago I created a vision for my living environment. I cut out pictures from magazines and wrote, I want to be surrounded by so much beauty, that it makes me want to cry. So why have I been decluttering for years?

I’ve found an answer in my favourite new book by Japanese author, Marie Kondo. It’s called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. An easy read and a shift in paradigm, she’s given me the access to clearing out anything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’. As per her coaching, I’ve started with clothing. She recommends taking everything out of drawers and wardrobes and making one big pile. Then one by one, touching each garment and asking yourself, “Does this spark joy?” It’s completely terrifying on one level – “what will the answer be?” “Will I be able to give up my attachment to this object?” It would seem there is only two real answers to the question, “Does this spark joy?” Yes or no. The increased happiness that I’m discovering from opening a drawer filled only with joy-inducing clothing has been well worth the experiment.

Love

Danica

 

Photo credit: Gitta Goldberg Photography

Do You Remember?

Do You Remember?

I’m thrilled to share this collaborative piece with you – a work of art with Garth Ernstzen. The presence of art, beauty and movement breathes life into the world. May this art find wings and visit you wherever you are, leaving you moved and perhaps a little more alive. If you have words for what you experience, I would love to hear them.

Featuring & Choreography – Danica Lani
Hair & Makeup – Katrina Villegas
Creative Direction, Direction & Editing – Garth Ernstzen, Garth Ernstzen Photography and Media

Song credit – Jarryd James – Do You Remember

Love Danica

 

I’m in the clear!

I’m in the clear!

Do you ever not allow yourself to get excited until you’re sure that thing you want is happening? It’s been 2 weeks since the surgery and every day I’m feeling better and better. Today I saw my surgeon and it looks like I’m in the clear. I’ll need to monitor my cycle over the next few months but we think the removal of the fibroid has done the trick! The excitement comes from the real possibility, the future that my quality of life has just been dramatically improved. Watch out world…

 

Love,

Danica

When Art is present

When Art is present

I have tears rolling down my cheeks, sitting face to face with my dear friend jazi after our shared birthday together. The words of acknowledgement have poured from me to her and now she is pouring words back to me. I get to be who I am because she is in my life and she gets to be who she is because I am in her life. She says something about all of my talents and skills and suddenly my internal dialogue pipes up, like it has something important to say.

 

Yeah, all of those talents you have that will go to your grave with you.

 

I catch it like a sharp edged object and examine it in my palm. What is that about?

 

Suddenly I realise what’s been in the way of sharing my talents. I’ve been waiting for someone to come along and tell me how to make money from my art. Before I share it. I remember, if it’s about the money, it’s not it. And I don’t need to make money from my art to live. I’ve designed my life that way.

What if I could be free to simply share my art for the sake of having art expressed in the world? I mean, that’s the kind of world I want to live in – a world where art is present. As a gift to the world.