When I first saw "vogueing" -- that is, the manufactured version of it presented in Madonna
's "Vogue" video -- all I wanted to do was define it. It's a dance, but it's about rigidity. It's gay, but it's a pantomime of commonplace fashion spreads. It's self-presentational, attitudinal, geometric, contorted, winkingly narcissistic, actually narcissistic, and stony-smirky-silly-serious fierce. It's a mirage, but it's undeniable. It's just the best. And when you see the real thing as presented in the unforgettable 1991 documentary Paris is Burning
, you realize that the act of "striking a pose" is just a warped-ass, queeny way of being yourself in the face of your real-life hardship, minority status, and what the world's done to morph you and your flagrant gayness into something much less Op-u-lent.
I'm obviously preaching to the realness choir here, but there's a thundering righteousness to the subjects of Paris is Burning
that is just timeless.