A Political Education: Coming of Age in Paris and New York

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The people served by drag have never been more visible, in other words, and Paris Is Burning is an essential part of that narrative. Politically, however, the promise of visibility has not totally borne out. The movie plays a part in that narrative too. They were interested in the fact that I was interested.

And you get a firsthand sense of the competition and one-upmanship undergirding it all. A queen says hers is the best house.

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Cut to: another queen saying she would never be in that house. It was more like—people, they know they have a lot to give. They know their culture is an extraordinary expression.

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Are you interested? Livingston noted that there were other people at the balls with cameras—other people documenting this history. Whether they wanted to turn that footage into feature films, rather than home movies, is not clear.

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If they had, they would have faced the same difficulties getting funding that Livingston did. Most of the people with the decision to greenlight are straight white men. Madison D. But he got that impulse. And he got the energy and the meaning of what was happening in the culture. You have to see Paris Is Burning in the context of nonfiction. And he did so on his own terms—beyond the institutional validation of the festival system, unnoticed by the likes of Miramax. Working-class people tend to stay working class. Underclass people tend to stay underclass.

And rich people tend to stay rich. That was not a condition that Paris Is Burning created.

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What makes this conversation painful is the through line of class privilege—a privilege Venus Xtravaganza constantly reminds us of in the documentary, in her open longing for a life that her identity precludes her from ever having. And I am so desperate to get out of here! In so many ways this is a story about the privileges of identity, and the ways that those excluded from those privileges have found to question and subvert them.

Which only makes the conversation stirred up by the film even more worth having.

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Looking for more? Sign up for our daily Hollywood newsletter and never miss a story. Schiffrin later learned that the C. As he grows older, Schiffrin increasingly looks to Europe for political guidance. His polemical later chapters, which lack the measured grace of the early sections, showcase a creeping disenchantment with American media and society.

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By Andrew Burstein. Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle are two mainstays of American folklore, but their creator was much more than a two-hit wonder, Andrew Burstein shows in this occasionally belabored biography. Though remembered for the dreamy landscapes of his later tales, he started out as a biting satirist of Jeffersonian America.

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By Craig Harline. How did Sunday become Sunday?

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Harline, a historian at Brigham Young University, provides a thorough if tedious answer as he traces the traditional day of Christian worship and newspaper reading across 2, years of history. Hellenistic Greek astrologers organized a seven-day week around the planets, but Sun Day was a day like any other. The Jews were the first to emphasize a special day each week devoted to God. Tell us what you think.

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