I have just finished watching what may be one of the greatest Documentaries I will ever see.
Paris is Burning is about the 1980's drag ball scene. It's about dancing Vogue, throwing Shade, being fabulous and being what you want to be.
Actually, Paris is Burning focuses on what it's like to not ONLY be a minority, NOT ONLY be LGBT, but to be poor, and living in a rich, straight, white man's city. the city in question is of course; "New York City! Center of the universe. Things may be shitty, but at least they cant be worse."(Angel, Rent)
Truly, that quote, though written years later, fits this movie like a fine opera glove. Through the film you can see the struggle of the young and gay, or transsexual, minorities during the 1980's. With no money, many resorted to hooking, "mopping" (stealing,) and working any job, legal or otherwise, that they could, just to make a living of some kind. Such a life is depressing. And for many or most of these poor urbanites, the only thing that really seems to keep them going is the drag balls.
The Balls are amazing events. At a ball, one is not yourself, you're what you WANT to be, what you've ALWAYS wanted to be, and you're FIERCE. In real life, you're saving for your sex change operation by hooking, or being an escort, all you want is a normal life, or a famous, fabulous life. you want to be either normal, or what you are but important, but of course you aren't, and the crushing truth? You may never be. Remember, these were the days before RuPaul and Superstar. The days before drag reviews stocked by straight woman at hen parties. So, what you lived for, was The Ball. At a ball you could be anything. You could be a fabulous rich exective, and opulant rich, housewife, a fantastic queen of EVERYTHING. You could be a military officer, successful, manly, you could be "Real."
It's escapism, and who could blame them?
That's not even a true overview of the documentry, it's a garbled mush trying to get across how wonderful and meaningful it is, how inspiring yet depressing it is. In this film you see how far we have come as a people, and how we haven't moved at all. It's a dichotomy. The masculine and feminine clashing behind closed doors, the inspiring tale, and the depressing realization that, ultimately, it has touched so very few. true many hundreds, or thousands, have watched this film. In fact it's grossed a fairly significant amount of money for an LGBT documentry, but if you ask most people if they've heard of the House of Dupree? They won't know. i certainly didn't, and i bet you don't even know what a "House" is.
It's not your fault or societies fault, or anyones, but it's worth learning about.
I have a tinyurl that links to it: http://tinyurl.com/dhtvu4
Please watch it. You won't regret it.
This post is an utter mess but I will not be fixing it, as it's late, and I really don't think i can properly analyze this film so soon after watching it, and there's so much in it, it wouldn't be easy anyway.