Vintage Documentary "Voguing and Realness" Shows The Ballroom Scene Pre "Paris is Burning"


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The low-fi video piece NYC Balls: Voguing & Realness is a one-of-a-kind voyage into the early world of New York City balls in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This gritty 20-minute picture opens at the House of Omni Ball in 1988, and then cuts to the first ever museum-curated "Evening of House Music and Voguing" at El Museo Del Barrio, with Junior Vasquez spinning and influential designer Ms. Patricia Field (legendary designer for Sex and the City and Miami Vice) in the house that historic evening. These are the historic moments in the history of Voguing, and NYC Balls puts the viewer in the room where it happened.

Capturing the experience of voguing before the broader LGBTQ (and straight) world at large knew about this Black and Latino queer dance form, NYC Balls: Voguing and Realness feels more like a queer home video than your typical film, with the intimacy and immediacy of the moment brought to screen in this never-before-released video. And if you’re still not in the know nearly 30 years later, intermittent tutorials pop on screen with definitions for voguing categories from “Feminine Face” to “Butch Queen Realness” to “Sequins, Feathers, and Beads.”

This film ends at the House of Xtravaganza's Phantom Ball in June 1990 at the Red Zone, three months after Madonna’s release of her massive hit single “Vogue,” and shortly before Jennie Livingston's feature length documentary Paris is Burning are internationally released. Take a peek at this unique film, available exclusively on Frameline Voices.


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