On the Couch with Jonny Hawkins

RISING-Jonny-HawkinsWho is Jonny Hawkins?
I’m a multidisciplinary artist; I create theatre, special events and film projects. I’m best known for DJing and my love of disco, so Maureen represents a very special aspect of my practice that my followers find surprising, a tenderly told story about my appreciation of older women who glamorously break all the rules.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Charge more money! Not to be greedy, I just would like to be able to afford the time to write more, it’s hard to make tender and thoughtful work when your mind is on the hustle. The hustle ends up in the writing and your characters all seemed stressed out by something not in the script.

Who inspires you and why?
I love artists whose careers have taken them into a multitude of worlds, like Taylor Mac and Miranda July. I Particularly love Australian queer performers, who in spite of the odds, have made a place for themselves. I think of Iota and Paul Capsis, two aliens fallen to earth.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Hopefully I’m doing it. My work has a huge focus on joy and community building. I want to help dismantle imaginary boundaries between people, and create intersectional community; I thinks that’s why I love disco and dance floors so much, it’s a big melting pot right in front of you. I want to make stories that encourage audiences to lean into their otherness, enjoy their own uniqueness and find a way to contribute that to those around them.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I grew up in a pretty poor family and we didn’t really “holiday”. I don’t think I’ve ever truly understood holidays. I get that you’re meant to relax, but I do that better at home. Whenever I’ve tried to holiday I get guilty about not seeing everything, ambitiously cram my days and end up needing to take a break when I get home. The dream for relaxing though is some place in the hinterland, somewhere you can see the water, surrounded by fresh produce and the whole day is about grazing plates and deciding what’s for dinner.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
My life is about parties, I love dance floors and the unique community that each one has. I also love propagating healthy dance floor culture. I’d host pre-drinks and invite some folks I think my friend would enjoy, and then we’d dance till the sun came up.

What are you currently reading?
George Haddad’s Losing Face.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m a DJ, that’s a big question. I’m constantly searching for music that makes me feel good – have a listen to Mavis John’s Use My Body – it’s exceptionally feel good.

Happiness is?
Going to dinner with someone who really knows their way around a menu and ordering for me. A good sound system. Peeling socks off at the end of a day and fresh bed sheets. Strangers becoming friends. My house plants living longer than 3 months. Finding a bottle of wine in the fridge you forgot about. Big giggles with best friends.

What does the future hold for you?
I woke up yesterday and laughed at the idea of becoming Lord Mayor of Sydney… so who knows.

Jonny transforms into Maureen: a razor tongued doyenne in Maureen: Harbinger of Death – currently playing at the Malthouse Theatre, as part of the 2022 Rising Festival until 12 June. For more information, visit: www.rising.melbourne for details.

Image: Jonny Hawkins (supplied)