City Limits Monthly                                                                                                     Date: April 2003

Making Change: A House Of Our Own.      

Drag balls spark a moment to create safe spaces for queer youth of color.           By Kenyon Farrow

 


Omni hopes a documentary he and filmmaker Wolfgang Busch have produced, called How Do I Look?, can similarly offer positive reinforcement for the ballroom scene.
I remember seeing Madonna’s 1991 film, Truth or Dare, for the first time when I was about 16 years old. She referred to her black and Latino gay dancers
(who inspired her hit song “Vogue”) as being “emotionally crippled.” Later that year, I saw Paris Is Burning, which introduced mainstream America to drag balls,
 and it nearly convinced me of Madonna’s truth. Omni wants his film to set the record straight. “Paris is Burning created a lot of misconceptions about the ball
 community,” he complains.

The film has generated a lot of buzz, having been screened several times this fall both in New York and at Cleveland, Ohio’s Black Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

He and Busch also want to use the film as the cornerstone of a larger community-building project. “This is more than just a documentary,” says Busch.
 “It is a tool to showcase our talents, bring the ballroom community together, gain artistic--and human--respect, and provide hands-on training to people
 in the ball community.” Proceeds from the film will go into community organizing campaigns and, not insignificantly, to pay the artists for their contributions.

“We are setting up a college tour around the country to have panel discussions, exhibitions, talk about HIV/AIDS awareness, transgender and sex education
 and how we can empower the artists in the ballroom subculture,” says Omni.
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