Thanks to the success of Jennie Livingston's acclaimed documentary
PARIS IS BURNING, audiences became familiar with the drag ball of
Harlem. Although one can trace this phenomenon back decades, the
drag balls peopled by the African-American and Latino gay and lesbian
community became mainstream thanks in part to Livingston's film.
It certainly didn't hurt when Madonna offered her imprimatur with the
music video "Vogue" and her subsequent tour that included several
prominent performers in her entourage (and which was shown in
depth in the nonfiction film TRUTH OR DARE).
In the culture of these drag balls, anyone active pre-1990 is
considered part of the "Old School Legends" (and sadly, many of those
profiled in Livingston's documentary are no longer with us). Since the 90s,
director Wolfgang Busch has been compiling footage of those who
succeeded the Legends -- the so-called "New School" -- many of whom
are the subjects of his nonfiction motion picture HOW DO I LOOK
Busch enjoyed unprecedented access and his film is generally
an enjoyable update on the "scene." But if anything, the director has
tried too hard to incorporate everyone and everything. As a result, the
film is a bit too loose and unfocused in stretches. After a while, one
loses sight of who is who and interest wanes a bit. This became
especially clear as HOW DO I LOOK was winding down. Busch
seemed to be at a loss as to how to end the film. There's a great
deal of repetition that mars an otherwise agreeable movie.
Rating: B -
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.