How Do You Make a Film for a Museum and Pornhub? Ask Leilah Weinraub

How Do You Make a Film for a Museum and Pornhub? Ask Leilah Weinraub

All of that was scaffolding for Hood by Air, with its image-bursting vision of who counted as fashion. “Like Shakedown, Hood by Air was more than just a business,” said Lew, the Whitney curator. “It served as a home for an L.G.B.T. community, created by like-minded folks and presented itself unabashedly.”

At Shakedown, too, Weinraub was not an interloper: she was part of that world, and proud of it. The stance she learned there, she said, was “being super unapologetic, and not sanitizing your expressions. People want to see it, how you give it.”

It was Weinraub’s attitude that convinced Ferguson — Egypt Blaque Knyle — to participate in the documentary. “She was just a great persuader. She used to call me every day: ‘Want to get coffee or tea?’ And the next thing I know, the cameras were there.”

Looking back, Ferguson added, the Shakedown scene was a movement toward acceptance for those on the social fringes. “But at that time, we didn’t know that’s what we were doing,” she said. “We just knew these little clubs, that was our playground, and when we got there, we could do whatever we wanted to do. It was for us.”

She watched the movie with her children. “It felt like I finally was fed, because I was starving to see what this was going to be.”

Shakedown the party largely ended around the time Weinraub stopped filming — it was never able to find a dedicated home. What did the community lose? Weinraub didn’t want to say.

“It’s up to each generation” to create their own utopias, she said. “It’s a pleasure space, so it has to be invented.” The movie, she added, is one blueprint: “This is a document, this is an idea, and you know, go for it. ”


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