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Paris Is Burning [Import]
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Fascinating, discomfiting, and poignant (sometimes all at once), Paris Is Burning documents New York City's recherché "ball" circuit, where members of the black and Latino gay, transvestite, and transsexual communities compete to see who can wear the most outlandish outfits and dance, pose, and generally show off to most outrageous effect. These are folks who live with a double whammy of discrimination, as they are minorities both sexually and racially. But while their tales of rejection by both society and their own families are woeful and bitter, the participants come alive when they hit the "runway" (actually the floor of some old gymnasium) to strut their stuff, liberated from the pressure of blending in with the mainstream. "Whatever you want to be, you be," says one, whether it's a school kid, a country club polo player, a high-rent executive, a character from television's Dynasty (which for some represents the dernier cri in elegance and wealth) anything goes. Along the way, we meet characters with names like Pepper Labeija, Venus Xtravaganza, and Willi Ninja; we also learn about "reading" (i.e., dissing your competitors), "shading" (a more subtle, non-verbal version of the same thing), and "voguing" (later adopted by Madonna, it combines the poses and haughty looks of your average supermodel). Critics at the time of the film's original 1990 release tended to focus on the sadness and not-so-quiet desperation of these people's efforts to transcend their circumstances and become one-night legends, but overall, Paris Is Burning comes across as simply a damn good time. --Sam Graham
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Top Customer Reviews
Many of the House family members display their voguing in the L.A. hip hop club scene. However our style of voguing has changed slightly, we 'chop', 'sha-blam', and 'shut 'em down' with ol' school/new school flava. Enjoying our unity as a community, a family, and as a people. See you at the next ball.
Most recent customer reviews
This documentary changed me. I quote from it daily! I now tell my friends it is required viewing if they want to understand me.Published on Sept. 17 2013 by thejuliebot