In conjunction with the UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum’s exhibition Please, Come In…, the Carsey-Wolf Center was 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) joined moderator Graham Feyl (History of Art & Architecture, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion of Paris Is Burning.
Please, Come In… was organized by the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara and was curated by Sylvia Faichney and Graham Feyl (History of Art & Architecture, UCSB).
Lucas Hilderbrand (Film & Media Studies, UC Irvine)
Moderator Graham Feyl
Graham Feyl is an art historian, curator, and writer based in California. He is a PhD student in the History of Art & Architecture department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he researches and works at the intersection of craft and queerness.
This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center and the UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum.
Revisiting the Classics
What happens when a film becomes a “classic”? The Carsey-Wolf Center’s 2023-24 feature series Revisiting the Classics engages creatively and critically with our filmic past, approaching it with fresh eyes and novel interpretive lenses. Not simply a celebration of the “great works,” Revisiting the Classics will consider how classic texts have shaped the work of contemporary filmmakers, how complicated questions of politics and aesthetics emerge through practices of adaptation and interpretation, and how the changing landscape of film distribution, archiving, preservation, and critique affects the formation of canon and the making of new “classics.”