Take a Deep Dive Into the Hidden History of “Paris Is Burning”

Bring it to the ball!

The latest installment of Culture Cruise, queer culture historian Matt Baume’s video series, explores one of the most iconic and influential queer films of all time: Paris Is Burning.

Jennie Livingston’s 1991 documentary about New York City’s house and ballroom scene has been hailed for shining a spotlight on the queer subculture, which was largely unknown to those who weren’t a part of it at the time. However, it has also been critiqued for being made by a queer woman who had attended balls but was not a participant in the scene herself.

Off-White Productions

Baume dives into all of this in his new video, “The Hidden History of Paris Is Burning.” Not only does he speak about the significance of the film, he also explains what New York City was like in the late ’80s and examines the fate of those featured in the documentary. And he doesn’t omit one of the breakout stars of Paris Is Burning: Dorian Corey, who made headlines after her death in 1993, when a mummified body was discovered in her former home.

As NewNowNext previously reported, a “partially mummified” body was found in a bag in Corey’s closet. Investigators determined that the badly decomposed corpse was that of Robert Worley, who was last seen in 1968. An episode from FX’s Pose was inspired by the mystery.

Baume also discusses how Madonna brought vogueing into the mainstream—and how ball culture was ultimately saved from extinction thanks to the House of Latex.

Check out the fascinating video below.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."