We make our 2014 debut at Oakland Surf Club with another cult classic

Paris is Burning

It’s crazy how some small corner of the world can end up having such an outsized influence on the world. I suppose all it takes is having a scene that’s unlike anywhere else. New York in the ’80s may been a high-water mark for human history in terms of subcultures per square mile–particularly the kinds of subcultures capable of weaving themselves into a society’s cultural DNA. From Madonna to Kool Herc to O’Brien to Byrne to Haring to Basquiat…as time goes on, the legacies of the folks who made Downtown’s dilapidated landscape home only seem to appreciate in impact.

Paris is Burning encapsulates a scene within that scene in a powerful way. Jennie Livingston’s 1990 doc, shot over the course of a few years in the late ’80s, tells the story of the city’s drag ball culture through the word’s of some of its most compelling figures. A few decades later, it’s a touchstone for the fashion and film worlds, and a poignant document, as valuable for the individual portraits as it is for its historical implications. It’s a film about a community doubly marginalized–primarily black and latin, and almost exclusively queer and trans; but it’s also deeply personal and intimate, even as digs into big, burning questions of identity and class and sexuality.

For us, it feels pretty fitting for what we’re trying to do here in Oakland circa 2014. I mean, in a broad sense, what are we doing for if we’re not providing a space for folks to do them? Like really do them. With that in mind, we’ll be screening Paris next Thursday, in the January installment of our screening series with the homies at Oakland Surf Club. Tell a friend, come through, grab some brew, swoop some icy gear. Voguing also heavily encouraged. You know the drill; trailer after the jump.