We begin by peering into their world, as the various performers prepare for their respective acts—posing in the mirror illuminated by vanity lights, touching-up makeup that has been applied with the skill of a painter, and practicing intricate choreography under the bright stage spotlight. But while the camera gives us a romanticized glimpse into their world of beauty and routine, the narrator expresses the harrowing and dangerous reality for those in the transgender community, especially transgender people of color.
DEEP IN VOGUE follows the various groups within the Northern Vogue scene in Manchester, United Kingdom. These groups—known as Houses for their familial-like relationships and interests—are predominantly queer people who have found self-expression through dress, community, and most importantly dance, or Vogueing, a term that stems from the magazine title, and takes from the publication glamour, elegance, and realness.
One of the most crucial parts of this documentary-style film, in this writer’s opinion, is its remembrance of the scene’s history. The Vogue scene came to life in thanks to Black queer people, particularly in New York City in the 1970s, who were rejected by the world around them and in turn created their own space where they were allowed to be who they were: young, queer people of color with a desire to express themselves— their real selves.
“The greatest revolution that anyone can instigate is to truly be themselves”
DEEP IN VOGUE showcases a go-all-out Ball event
As the various Houses prepare for the Ball—an event where each performer goes all out in detailed, themed costumes and with choreography to match—those within the scene explain the necessary underground nature of it all. And while it has remained in the hearts of those in the queer community, many suggest it’s important that it becomes culture, not just queer culture.
This hour-long film is perfect for those who enjoy learning how movements from the past have been sustained in the modern day. In this reviewer’s opinion, this film is important for anyone to watch, especially those who find themselves removed from the realities of the queer community.
House of Suarez, House of Decay, House of Ghetto
Amy Watson and Dennis Keighron-Foster (Directors and Producers)
Streaming Now, Open Run
Streaming on Vimeo
Images courtesy of Film Rise
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About the Author: Margaret Smith ( Photo by Mike Rundle )
Margaret Smith is a Chicago-based, multi-genre writer and editor. They are a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, a lover of all-things theater, and a crossword puzzle enthusiast. More of their work can be found on the Better Magazine website.