Revisiting the Classics: Paris Is Burning

Event Date: 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023 - 7:00pm to 9:30pm

Event Location: 

  • Pollock Theater

In conjunction with the Carsey-Wolf Center at UCSB, we are thrilled to present a screening of Jennie Livingston’s iconic 1990 documentary Paris is Burning. A vibrant look inside New York City’s end-of-the-millenium drag ball culture, Paris Is Burning remains an exhilarating portrait of queer life, creativity, beauty, and kinship in the face of the intersecting forces of racism, homophobia and transphobia, poverty, and the HIV/AIDS crisis. 

Pairing intimate interviews with exhilarating footage of competitive drag balls, the film is a vital record of a performance culture—innovated largely by queer and trans people of color living on the economic margins—that continues to shape popular culture on a national and global scale. From Beyoncé’s blockbuster album and tour Renaissance to popular television programs like Legendary, the energy of the drag ball and the legacy of Paris is Burning vibrates across our cultural moment: an ideal time to revisit this classic of independent US documentary.

In this event, Lucas Hilderbrand (Film & Media Studies, UC Irvine) will join moderator Graham Feyl (History of Art & Architecture, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion of Paris Is Burning.