If the names Willi Ninja, Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, and Venus Xtravaganza sound the slightest bit familiar, then you’ve likely seen the 1991 documentary Paris Is Burning. Paris Is Burning explores the early underground ballroom community and its importance in the development of the LGBT community. The film’s producer, Jennie Livingston, sheds light on the many competitive categories in the underground scene.
Fast forward to the year 2013. Every Tuesday night on West 39th street in Manhattan, you can still get an intimate view of the ballroom scene at club Escuelita.