Vogueing, the black gay subculture documented in the classic documentary “Paris Is Burning” and ‘popularized’ by Madonna has been dying a long, slow death.
In the 1980s the glittering vogue balls of Harlem were both a refuge and a battlefield, where urban and often poor gays duelled on the dancefloor, recasting themselves as fantastic glamour objects. They would compete with fluid, dramatic moves, sharp outfits and liberal use of “shade”.
Today the scene survives in Manhattan only at Escuelita, a Latin gay club on 39th Street, which hosts Vogue Knights on Mondays. When I went – the week before a big party admittedly, so people might have been saving themselves – it was not so much quiet as dead.
I felt sad to see such a vital and interesting avenue for (gay) self expression hitting the wall.
Recent cattiness on the scene pitting the “mainstream” vogue circuit with an upcoming…
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