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Jennie Livingston's 1990 Documentary
Shown in collaboration with the Sag Harbor Cinema

Introduced by Omari Wiles, star of HBO’s Legendary, Ballroom Legend and Founding Father of the House of Oricci

Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade?

Decades before widely acclaimed TV series such as Pose and Legendary reached Americans’ living rooms, this landmark documentary provided a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag ball scene. Made over seven years, Paris Is Burning offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion “houses,” from fierce contests for trophies, to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia and transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women—including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza—Paris Is Burning brings it, celebrating the joy of movement, the force of eloquence, and the draw of community.

This screening of Jennie Livingston’s 1990 pioneering portrait of the New York drag ball culture will be held in conjunction with The Church’s collaboration with Works & Process at the Guggenheim, hosting Omari Wiles and his company Les Ballet Afrik while they develop “New York is Burning,” a new performance commissioned to honor the 30th anniversary of Livingston’s documentary.

Paris is Burning enjoyed a six month blockbuster run at Film Forum, in 1991. It has recently been digitally remastered by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, in conjunction with Sundance Institute and Outfest UCLA Legacy Project. Preservation funded by Sundance Institute, Outfest and the Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation.


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