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Paris is Burning – The Remix

May 19, 2010

Paris is Burning is one of my favorite documentaries ever. It is the story of the underground gay Ballroom scene of the late 80s, where trends like “Voguing” (yes, as in Madonna’s “Vogue”) originated. It is a fascinating and complex look into one of the most influential sub-cultures in modern times (like Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Beyonce and Lady Gaga are directly influenced by the gay Ballroom scene in some way or another).

My friend/co-worker Rachel, another “Paris is Burning” fan, told me about this amazing remix by Crystal Castles featuring scenes from the film. Watch it because it’s pretty amazing, then discover the documentary because it’s an epic, must-see piece of work.

[Vimeo 11067657]

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathy Larson permalink
    May 19, 2010 10:40 am

    interesting — as a white anglo-saxon liberal from Canada I had no idea voguing was an art form — just thought it was something Madonna made up (not a huge Madonna fan, but admire her talent, nonetheless.) thanks for enlightening me.

    • David M. permalink*
      May 19, 2010 12:00 pm

      Definitely! Voguing has been around for quite some time, and is still a staple in gay underground culture. It’s really fascinating, and worth a few searches on YouTube! :)

  2. Raul permalink
    May 19, 2010 12:14 pm

    I had no idea voguing was real? Like Kathy I thought Madonna just made it up. Very interesting video…thanks for sharing.

  3. blairpet permalink
    May 19, 2010 12:37 pm

    Y’know this totally got me excited for pride! I think Voguing is making a comeback actually. Even cities like Vancouver have Balls where a couple queens set up houses and compete. Loves it!!!

    • David M. permalink*
      May 20, 2010 12:49 am

      Wow! I didn’t know there were balls in Canada. Voguing is certainly making a comeback, and I’m glad it’s going international too!

  4. May 19, 2010 12:43 pm

    I have 2 CDs titled Paris is Burning–I had no idea they came from a movie. I just loved the music. I will definitely look into finding a copy of the movie.

  5. callie permalink
    May 19, 2010 12:59 pm

    Love it! Thanks!

  6. May 19, 2010 1:48 pm

    Crystal Castles are a current obsession. Great post.

  7. May 19, 2010 3:21 pm

    It was great to watch those scenes again.

    I saw this at the ICA gallery in London around three years ago. I was struck by the moves and was moved by the personal stories of the guys involved. I’m with you, matey. It’s one of the best documentaries – ever.

  8. May 19, 2010 6:24 pm

    I’m glad to have lived it in NYC (The Limelight and) at various mid-town Manhattan ballrooms. I miss those days often. Crystal Castles brings it all back very well.

  9. Cheryl permalink
    May 19, 2010 7:32 pm

    This was such an awesome film. Willi Ninja (who is in the first scene in this video) showed Madonna how to vogue. Too bad him and the other main stars in the film not are alive today. The film shows how bad AIDS was among gay men back then.

    • David M. permalink*
      May 20, 2010 12:51 am

      I completely agree. It is so tragic that many of the major creative minds of that time succumbed to AIDs. I often wonder how the creative pulse of our current time would be different if these influential voices were still alive.

  10. May 19, 2010 7:44 pm

    Wow, I’ve never heard of this, but it seems pretty interesting! I’ll have to look into the movie. Definitely very unique, I’ve never seen anything like it.

  11. Holly Appling permalink
    May 20, 2010 1:39 am

    I really like this. It is hard to stop watching, waiting to see what the dancer, the ‘voguer’?, is going to do next. I used to figure skate and I was fascinated by the fluidity and precision of their movements. Is this an improvisational art or are the routines choreographed before the Ball? Will like to watch the documentary too. Thanks so much for posting this. Peace…Holly.

    • David M. permalink*
      May 21, 2010 6:58 pm

      Hi Holly,

      I believe most of the voguing moves are improvised. It’s most often used as a form of competition, where various voguers compete for cash prizes or trophies.

      I would love to see a figure skater incorporate voguing moves into their performance!



  12. May 20, 2010 2:25 am

    Oh this documentary takes me back. I remember going to clubs and watching folks vogue it out. So glad I stumbled onto this post! Paris is Burning was one of the most influential documentaries in my late teens, in terms of really opening my eyes to the rich traditions of queer culture that extended beyond perfecting Liza drag and calling everyone, “Ms. Thing.” Hey it was the 80s/90s.

  13. la ragazza dell'ottantuno permalink
    May 20, 2010 10:57 am

    OMG… This video is simply brilliant!

  14. May 20, 2010 12:58 pm

    Nice blog!:)

  15. Songbird permalink
    May 20, 2010 4:47 pm

    The clip is amazing! I have never seen Paris Is Burning, but will put it on my Netflix list immediately!

  16. May 24, 2010 3:43 pm

    I fell in love with Paris is Burning the SECOND my friend showed it to me!Many people don’t realize that it is an art form that has inspired many hetero stars. This remix is hot!Have you been to any balls?I’m dying to visit one.

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