This Saturday, Dublin is hosting the ball scene of 1980’s New York via a screening of the iconic 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning.

The inaugural event for The Sugar Club’s new event series, The Pictures, this is arguably going to be one of the most delirious nights of 2015, with a self-described ‘Banter Q+A’ before the screening, and the Discotekken DJs with jack-of-all-trades-hip, This Greedy Pig, taking over afterwards to provide us with a night of glorious disco.

Historic though it was, we can’t grant the summer’s Yes vote all the glory for Dublin’s flourishing gay scene – it’s been flourishing of its own volition – but it’s undeniable that there’s a sense of renewed life in the city – or at least, a slightly lessened sense of cynicism. This sense of renewal is apparent in events such as this: they were happening before, but things are different now – maybe not by a lot, but by a bit, and it’s enough to matter – atmospheres are freer, more relaxed, more self-assured.

Which is both exactly as it was in the ball scene of New York, while at the same time, utterly contrasting. The LGBTQ+ communities featured in Paris Is Burning, with its subject matter of the competitive “walking” subculture (whereby competitors, the majority of whom were often non-white and gay, would present in different genres of drag), were self-sustained and a source of renewal for their participants. At the same time, they were a defiant cultural presentation of self-determination in the decade of AIDS hysteria and increasing acts of violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community.

If that sounds heavy, it is. But don’t worry – while Paris Is Burning has plenty for those interested in the history of American gay subculture, the people featured in it are an arresting bunch of characters who refuse to let you lose their attention, and the ball events themselves are a sight to behold – being the origin and home of voguing a long time before Madonna got her paws on it.

Paris Is Burning poster
Tickets for this Discotekken event can be purchased online  – all the early-birds are gone, but you can still snap-up a standard ticket for €12 – a bargain for a full night of entertainment. You’ll also be doing your bit for charity – in the words of the event-holders themselves: “€1 from every ticket sold will be donated to BelongTo in honour of these lil’ dudes”. Doors open at The Sugar Club at 8pm.

For more information visit the Sugar Club website or the Facebook event page.

paris is burning movie still
The Sugar Club
Lower Leeson Street
Dublin 2

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All images courtesy Miramax


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