T.J. Keanu Tario/Laritza Labouche

Kanaka Maoli

GRANTEE: T.J. Keanu Tario/Laritza Labouche
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
AWARD:  2022 LIFT – Early Career Support for Native Artists
DISCIPLINE: Multi-Disciplinary Arts

T.J. Keanu Tario/Laritza Labouche is a multifaceted composer, pianist, and Hawaiian cultural practitioner by day, and ballroom vogue drag artist by night. They are the first Kanaka Maoli graduate of The Juilliard School, in the classical piano division, and The California Institute of the Arts. Their compositions have been performed by ensembles including the New York Youth Symphony, the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra and the Attacca String Quartet. Performances for the concert stage include ‘Capriccio’ for One Piano/Four Hands commissioned by the Aloha International Piano Festival and premiered by Lisa Nakamichi and Jon Nakamatsu. The score to short film, A Fish Out of Water, was the Official 2017 Winner of Boundless in Brooklyn: A 48 Hour Dance Film Contest and premiered at the Cinéma Majestic Passy/Écrans de Paris.

Tario’s film credits include The Jimmy Kimmel Show, HBO Max’s Generations, national commercials for ULTA Beauty and Nintendo Switch, and ‘Crimson’s Cabaret’ short film (featured winner at the Cannes World Film Festival). In combating the stress and performance anxiety in the “serious arts” world, she has been able to freely express herself through the persona of Lady Laritza. By creating art in a nonconventional way, it gives a special voice to the marginalized BIPOC LGBT+ community. Being Māhū is an entity that lives within the trans/nonbinary community. Through her continued work within the arts, she strives to inspire others to live and create freely in their truths.

Due to the pressures of conservatory training, I acquired a sort of performance anxiety. Creating this persona that was Lady Laritza Labouche, reinforced my love for performing for audiences and acted as my protective shield.

—T.J. Keanu Tario/Laritza Labouche (Kanaka Maoli)


Tario’s LIFT project, E aha ‘ia ana ‘o Maunakea (What is being done, Maunakea?), is a multi-disciplinary performance piece that combines music composition, Native Hawaiian Chant (oli), modern dance, Hula Kahiko, the art of Drag, as well as film projections and triptych visual canvas. The project will encompass the moʻolelo (story) of the Hawaiian Snow Goddess, Poliʻahu, and will shed light on the modern-day protect Mauna Kea movement  and the protection of stolen lands.