I did not attend the Gay Pride Parade this year, but then, I never do. I have nothing against it -- in fact, I've really come to appreciate obnoxious expressions of gayness in my old age (thank you, RuPaul's Drag Race!). It's just that I had to have brunch for my boyfriend's birthday, and I hate parades and it was hot and...and...and, in the words of Florrie Fisher when she began an entirely unsolicited story that she decided against telling midway through, it's not important!
But what I did do on Sunday was watch the entire episode of The Joan Rivers Show devoted to Paris Is Burning on YouTube. Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Willi Ninja and Freddie Pendavis (whose name Joan pronounces like "Pen-dovah," much to Freddie's amusement) and PIB director Jennie Livingston all sit on Joan's coach (and in millions of living rooms when this aired in 1991) and talk about being gay and drag balls and slang (Joan is legitimately perplexed by the term "24/7!"). It's all gayer than just about anything you'd see on daytime TV today, 19 years later. It's a beautiful thing, but not more beautiful than Pepper LaBeija's outfit, which looks like Big Bird crossed with an entire stage production of The Wiz crossed with fierce.
Above is my favorite segment (the final one), in which a mini drag ball is staged and women from the audience are called down to strut their stuff. Women pretending to be men pretending to be women are generally so much more off in their aim than men pretending to be women. That extra layer makes all the difference. Below, I've embedded the rest of the episode (it's annoying to dig through that YouTube account to find it so I got you). [via CNTRL+W33D]
Update: Ugh! What is going on in my life? My secondary YouTube account was deleted over clips I posted MONTHS ago (I'll be reupping stuff over the long weekend) and then this shit goes private? Lame. But I'm used to lameness, so I saved all the flv files. You can download the five parts of this episode below. Nobody gonna breaka my stride.