Archive | February, 2011

Paris is Burning: The Real Eternal Flame

23 Feb

Paris is Burning, an early 90’s documentary on 80’s ball culture in New York City, was an immediate art-house phenomenon that is often cited as “inspiration” right along with Hibiscus and The Cockettes. The documentary chronicles a group of, predominantly, hustlers escaping to Harlem’s drag balls to be something else, or to fulfill — as one author, (Daniel Contreras, Unrequited love and gay Latino culture: What have you done to my heart?), puts it — “utopian longings” for a life beyond their grasp due to the sociopolitical trappings of the time. As Venus Xtravaganza says in the documentary, “I would like to be a rich, white girl. They get what they want whenever they want it.” Examples of ball categories that track closely with this idea are “Corporate Executive” and “Perfect College Student”.

Most of the film alternates between footage of balls and interviews with prominent members of the scene, including Octavia St. Laurent and Pepper LaBeija. A key component of ball culture is the “House” paradigm, in which established Queens (and later gays, trannies, etc), would take in runaways, and other “outsiders”, and support them from everything to their first “catwalk” competition at a ball to getting a present for their birthday.

In the film, a couple of houses are spotlighted, including the House of LaBeija, (the aforementioned queen who was a leader in many ways of ball culture); the House of Ninja, (who’s House mother Willi Ninja is best known for introducing the mainstream to “Voguing”); and the House of Extravaganza. Notably in 1993, the sudden death of House mother Angie Xtravaganza shook the dream world of ball culture to its core. The very real and violent reality of Angie’s death ran perpendicular to the transcendent illusion she strived to attain within ball culture. As one of her children, Hector Xtravaganza speaks of her in a 1993 New York Times article, “…a mother is one who raises a child, not one who borns it.” Her obituary is equally poignant.

What about the House of RuPaul? RuPaul’s homage to drag ball culture is clear on DragRace where you can hear “throwing shade” (outperforming), “mopping” (stealing), “drag mother” (mentoring), and “shantay, shantay” (Ru’s now famous phrase often used in category competitions at Balls).

But, you don’t have to stay glued to LOGOtv to watch how the kind of culture captured in Paris is Burning affects the modern drag world. Rumor is Precious director, Lee Daniels, is already planning to bring Paris Burning to Broadway.

In the meantime, check out old clips from the Joan Rivers Show with the Paris is Burning cast and director. As LaBeija would say: LEARN THE TASTE…

 

 

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Quick Update on Last Night’s RuPaul’s DragRace on LogoTV

22 Feb

Stacy Layne Matthews was the big winner in The Snatch Game last night after channeling MONIQUE.  Check out the play-by-play from Queerty.com.  Homorazzi.com has a good overview of the episode as well.  In a surprise-move to many, Mariah is OUT!   Watch Drag Race online at logotv.com.

Get to RIO for “Queens from Ipanema”

16 Feb

Today, HighKixx brings you a little global flare with a highlight of the Brazilian Carnival (Carnaval, in Portuguese), which, as I am sure you know, is an annual celebration held 40 days before Easter and marking the beginning of Lent. Carnival 2011 happens from March 4 through 8, but the festivities have already begun!

Interestingly, drag queens are an integral component of the Brazilian Festival. SO, next time you’re in, say, RIO 40 days before lent…check out these two Drag Extravaganzai:

First, the Banda de Ipanema is the Carnival event with the highest concentration of drag queens in Rio. There are three parades of Banda de Ipanema each year.  The first one is on Saturday, two weeks before Carnival.  The other events are on Carnival Saturday and Tuesday.

Second, there are two big Torrevieja events.  This year, the 3rd Drag Queen National Contest just took place last Friday February 11, 2011 and featured none other than the FAB drag muse of Brazil, “La prohibida”.  The second big event is the Torrevieja’s Carnival 25th Anniversary Great Show. This year, the show took place on Sunday, February 13, 2011 and was hosted by Beniaján’s Chirigota. This show is a tribute to all Carnival queens.

I think we can all agree that a HighKixx should organize a pilgrimage to Rio for next year’s Carnival festivities!  Check out the official guide to the rest of the celebrations.

“The Sex is in the Heel!” KINKY BOOTS, a Movie Review

9 Feb

Every now and then, Highkixx spotlights films that capture what is best about the drag queen world.  Highkixx last covered Hedwig, (Have you seen it? Edgy, fab, and headed for Broadway).

Highkixx now suggests Kinky Boots, the ab fab 2005 britcom about Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton of Star Wars II and III). Price is a traditional Northampton, England shoemaker, who reinvigorates his father’s failing shoe business with the help of drag performer, (and/or quasi transvstite depending on your definition), Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor of Dirty Pretty Things and Amistad).

Not only is this a sweet story filled with drag queens, but it also addresses painful social biases in a completely lovely way since much of the story takes place with Lola advising at the small town shoe mill. Here is an additional review for you.

Don’t miss it!

Highkixx Spotlight: A (Lucky) Bitch Called Wanda

2 Feb

Listen up!  Wanda Wisdom (aka Bradley Traynor) is a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based drag queen/podmistress who is not to be missed.  Wanda hosts “The Progrum” (previously known as “Lucky Bitch Radio”) pretty much daily for Lavender Media Inc. Wanda has hosted this fabulous show since 2006 – so get listening, you have A LOT of catching up to do!

In fact, Wanda has a podcast, a blog, and even her own YouTube: Wanda channel where you can watch the likes of A Christmas Wanda.  You’ll even see some of Wanda’s fave finds, like a set of lost Jazzercise videos courtesy of http://www.foundfootagefest.com starring exercise-enthusiast Judi Sheppard who is “so perky, it borders on psychotic”.

One of my favorite of Wanda’s shows was Wanda’s proposal of marriage to Michele Bachmann, everyone’s favorite Tea-Bagging Congresswoman.  Catch this fabulous Wanda classic — the Wanda-Proposes-to-Michelle podcast — and PLEASE do not miss the follow-up webcast, Wanda’s Gotta Great Big Heart-On! …below, and thanks to Andre Louboutin for sending in the link!

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