3 RITES: Happiness investigates how laughter and pleasure reside in the body.
It features four dancers and commissioned music by Nathaniel Braddock, played live by the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, whose sound is a lively combination of Highlife and Dry Guitar. The rite begins with the Happiness Fête where the audience is invited to engage in a collective celebration of wellness and joy by participating in portrait sketches, massages, Delirious Hair Designs, learning line dances, sharing a meal and more. On arrival, the audience are welcomed by the Sunbeams (local student participants) who write what makes them happy on a white balloon, which is then attached to the person and floats above them like a thought bubble. The Sunbeams also ask the audience to write what makes them unhappy on a card, which is placed in a ‘pool of unhappiness.’ The Fête is followed by laughtercises, and a performance by DELIRIOUS and the Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, that culminates in a dance party with the audience, and a ritual skewering of unhappiness with the Liberty character. Happiness is about self-care, and making time to relax, laugh and recharge for the labor to uphold the values of life, liberty and happiness.
The Happiness Fete includes Delirious Hair Designs, which I began in 2002 in a storefront window on 42nd Street for Chashama. The concept is to give a person the gift of a hair design, that is created to match the personality and style of the individual, whether they have long hair, short hair or are bald. The designs incorporate objects that can be repurposed (silk flowers, wind-up toys, condoms, etc.), and allow your average person to become the center of attention.