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Redefining Royalty: The Journey of The King Coach, Danica Lani

kings of joy Nov 23, 2023

Chris aka Chase Cocks
I think it might be time to hear from The King Coach, Daddy Joy, my wife, Danica Lani. Dario, where are you?

Danica Lani  0:16  
My darling, my love. Where have you been in my life? **kiss** Give it up for Chase Cocks, everyone. Lives up to his name, that's all I can say. 

Hello friends! Thanks so much for being here. My name is Danica Lani, aka Dario de Bello. I'm known as the King Coach. These are the names given to me by the community. The first one was Dance Mum. I think that was because I was in the audience watching and crying and filming at the same time and doing the dance moves - at the same time. Going, 'Come on, you can do it! 3, 4 and a 1, 2, and a 3, and a 4 and a...' Like that. So that was Dance Mum. That was the first one. 

Then, Mother of Drag Kings. How clever. How clever is our community. And then Mad B Diva, one of our Aboriginal Drag Queen elders who has hosted on this stage and performed several times, named me Daddy Joy. 

And then of course, there is The King Coach. And I am so proud to have created this community and empowered and mentored and choreographed 9-, it's actually 98 first-time Drag Kings since December 2020. And we have 6 more in the wings who are going to be performing on this stage at Queers of Joy in two weeks time (30 Nov). So if you're one of those Kings, can you maybe just like, give us a little 'eeee!' Yes! There's one! Yes, and there was another somewhere tonight too.

Danica Lani  2:08  
Kings of Joy is a community and our values - we're a community initiative. Our values are anti-racism. Actually doing the work of anti-racism. 

Non-toxic masculinity. So I don't know about you, but I've kind of my fill of toxic masculinity in life. So my theory is we don't need to see it represented on stage. Thank you very much. So we do representations, non-toxic masculinity representations on stage. 

And gender diversity. Yes. I like to say I don't care, how you identify, I don't care who you sleep with, are you ready to lean into the masculine? If yes, then come and be a Drag King. It's so much fun. It's as much fun as you can have with the clothes on... And sometimes they come off as well, as you've seen. 

So Drag Kingdom. So we've had 98 first-time Drag Kings, 22 groups of Kings of Joy. We've had four Drag Kingdoms. This is our fifth. And we have them twice a year. Once in Pride Month, and once at the end of the year, and they're a bit of a reunion for the Kings of Joy community. As well as an opportunity to prove that you can have fun and make a difference at the same time. 

So we're very proud to be making a difference. Tonight, as Chris mentioned, 10% of all our proceeds go to Block 13, our friends who are living in Kakuma in Kenya a refugee camp. and then the rest of the proceeds go back into the Kings of Joy Pay It Forward program. So for the first program, the Kings of Joy Gold Stars... any Gold Stars in the room? Anyone know that lesbian reference anymore? Gold Star? Yeah. Okay, good. Just checking. Any Gold Stars in the room? 

Yeah, so the Gold Stars program is for first-time Drag Kings. It goes for 6 weeks and it's a Pay It Forward program. So you don't have to pay upfront. But Kings pay it forward for future Kings. So you're helping that tonight as well. You're helping make a difference to future Kings, as well. 

And there are some people that I want to acknowledge. So one is our partnership with the Working Kind Collective. That's our palace. That's the space where we hold our all our rehearsals, our palace parties, workshops throughout the year. And it's made such a difference to have a home. You know that feeling of having a home? Yeah. So thank you to the Working Kind Collective. 

Thank you to the Red Rattler - yes. We love this space and we love this place. We love that this was a space that was created by a group of lesbians and queer women in the 90s, I think? I don't know I could have that wrong, but you know, back in the day. Anyone else a 90s teen? Okay, 90s teens! Yes, that's right. It's like TLC. 'Don't go chasin' waterfalls.' That's right. And oh, my God what about, 'This is How We Do It... nah, nah, nah, na-nah.' Yup, exactly. So. Sorry, just a little moment there for us 90s teens. 

Yes, so I want to thank the Red Rattler because they've always made a space here for us. I started performing here, when I first moved to Sydney in 2014. But I'd been a Drag King since 2011. Dario di Bello. On and off, on and off. 

And when I moved to Sydney, I didn't have any experience of community here. Is anyone else not from Sydney and you had that experience? Yeah. Seems like a common one that we experience. Coming to Sydney and then - where's the people? Where's the community? 

And so eventually, it was Chris, who created Queers of Joy, and said, why don't we do a group of first-time Drag Kings because that is how Chris and I met. We met doing a group, a Drag King performance group. We met through a mutual friend who called me and said, 'Can you choreograph this group routine?' And Chris was one of the other "backup dancers." And of course, on the second rehearsal, they did a Patrick Swayze slide on their knees across the floor. And that was it. I was goner. And, yeah, you know, true lesbian style we started dating.... on the second rehearsal. We're now married. Yes! So I really want to acknowledge Chase Cocks, for their hosting and their support, but also for being the wind underneath my wings and empowering me to create this community. Without them, we wouldn't be here. So thank you, Chris aka Chase Cocks. 

I'd also like to thank some Kings of Joy who are here tonight. I'd really love to thank Laura aka Glen 20 for being our makeup person tonight. And you've seen Tom aka Roy C*nt up on stage sweeping around. What a great job he's been doing. **Chants Roy C*nt, Roy C*nt [See Ted Lasso reference]** Tegan aka Brock Lee at the front door. Looking smashing tonight, absolutely stunning. Jenny aka Tee Quila, who has been here - yes, Jenny! Thank you. My right hand Drag King….

Completely moving. So that is who those people are self expressed and alive because today we're fucking alive we've got today so there are QR codes around if you want to give and donate to block 13 as QR codes for that and then if you want to be a Drag King and you want to be part of the Kings of Joy community you can also put your put your name on the waiting list and come and experience it for yourself can be part of that. Thank you very much.

P.S. Wanna be a Drag King? Click here to join the waiting list for Kings of Joy

Hello handsome, 🌈 I'm Danica Lani, also known as The King Coach, here to empower you in your exploration of gender, sexuality, and performance. I have proudly mentored, choreographed, and produced 89 first-time Drag Kings since December 2020. Welcome to the joyous community of Kings of Joy, where we uplift and celebrate each other every step of the way! 🎉🤩 Let's embark on this Drag King journey together, embracing our true selves and cheering each other on! 🤗💖 #KingsOfJoy 

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