Event Details
Flexner Event Film Screening: "Paris is Burning" with Jennie Livingston, Director and Judith Butler
Event Type:Video
Location:McPherson Auditorium, Goodhart Hall
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Events,Featured Events
Beth Shepard-Rabadam
Department:Provost Office

"Paris is Burning" poster imageDirector Jennie Livingston will screen her 2005 short film Who’s the Top? along with her acclaimed 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, which sparked intense interest from scholars including 2011 Mary Flexner Lecturer Judith Butler. Total run time is approximately 100 minutes. Livingston will introduce the films and engage the audience in a post-screening discussion of the two works as well as her current project, Earth Camp One, for which she is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter.

Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, Paris is Burning chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African American, Latino, gay and transgender communities involved in it. Footage of balls, competitions in which contestants are judged on the accuracy and beauty with which they mimic a number of specific, generally normative cultural identities, alternates with interviews to explore the community of “houses,” alternative kinship structures that grew up around the competitions. Many members of the ball-culture community consider Paris Is Burning to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the "Golden Age" of New York City drag balls, as well as a thoughtful exploration of race, class, and gender in America. The film won the 1990 Los Angeles Film Critics Association. award for best documentary and the 1991 grand jury prize at the Sundance Festival and was recently cited by The New Yorker as one the top cultural events of the last four decades.

Who’s the Top, Livingston’s first fiction film, is described as “a fantastical S/M musical comedy in which one writer finds her true self by determining who's the bottom.”

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