Screening at Ossining Public Library’s Budarz Theatre – June 8th at 6:15pm – Free Admission
VILLAGE OF OSSINING, NY — June 3, 2017 — On Thursday evening, June 8th, the Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series (ODDS) celebrates LGBTQ Pride, offering a free screening of KIKI at the Ossining Public Library’s Budarz Theater at 6:15pm.
In New York City, LGBTQ youth-of-color gather out on the Christopher Street Pier, practicing a performance-based art form, “Ballroom”, which was made famous in the early 1990s by Madonna’s music video “Vogue” and the documentary “Paris Is Burning.” Twenty-five years after these cultural touchstones, a new and very different generation of LGBTQ youth have formed an artistic activist subculture, named the Kiki Scene.
KIKI follows seven characters from the Kiki community over the course of three years, using their preparations and spectacular performances at events known as Kiki balls as a framing device while delving into their battles with homelessness, illness and prejudice as well as their gains towards political influence and the conquering of affirming gender-expressions. Each character represents a unique and powerful personal story, illuminating the Kiki scene in particular, as well as queer life in the U.S. for LGBTQ youth-of-color as a whole.
Kiki scene-members range in age from young teens to 20’s, and many have been thrown out of their homes by their families or otherwise find themselves on the streets. As LGBTQ people-of-color, they constitute a minority within a minority. An alarming 50% of these young people are HIV positive. The Kiki scene was created within the LGBTQ youth- of-color community as a peer-led group offering alternative family systems (“houses”), HIV awareness teaching and testing, and performances geared towards self-agency. The scene has evolved into an important (and ever-growing) organization with governing rules, leaders and teams, now numbering hundreds of members in New York and across the U.S and Canada. Run by LGBTQ youth for LGBTQ youth, it draws strategies from the Civil Rights, Gay Rights and Black Power movements.
“KIKI is a much needed film for this generation’s LGBTQ black, brown and Hispanic LGBTQ youth and young adult communities. We don’t see enough of our story being told in media, music or the mainstream. Hopefully this would inspire those who aren’t aware or educated to take action and inquire on the issues that plague and stigmatize this community,” said Chi Chi Mizrahi, panelist and KIKI cast member.
Christina Picciano, ODDS member and Screening Curator for this film said, “I wanted to screen Kiki for the youth in our community who may have questions and are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity. It’s also a movie that focuses on the positive impact of millennials, a dialogue that is often ignored. In choosing panelists I wanted to have a diverse display of the LGBTQ community, one that we don’t often see in mainstream media.”
- Chi Chi Mizrahi is a Stakeholder and Community Advocate for the House and Ballroom Community. He has been an active member of the Kiki scene and Ballroom scene for over 10 years. After getting his professional start as a community health specialist at FACES NY, Inc, he is currently a Program Coordinator for Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Peter Krueger Clinic.
- Shepard Verbas: joined The LOFT LGBT community center team in November 2015 as Program Manager for Silver Connections and Helpline. Since then, their title has grown to include The LOFT’s Intimate Partner Violence program, as well as facilitation and oversight of many LOFT groups and volunteers. Shepard also works with LGBTQ youth through their role as Program Specialist with the organization Center Lane.
- Laurel Golio is the co-founder and photographer of We Are the Youth, an ongoing photographic journalism project chronicling the individual stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth in the United States. We Are the Youth addresses the lack of visibility of LGBTQ young people by providing a space to share stories in an honest and respectful way.
About The Ossining Documentary & Discussion Series
The Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series is organized by a committee of volunteers committed to bringing the “community together one film at a time .” It is our hope that together we can watch, enjoy and engage in conversations about documentaries that collectively open our eyes to issues that are important to our lives and to our community. We hope that the issues raised in our selected documentaries will encourage questions and action towards making a difference in Ossining, and in the world. For more information on the series, including updates on screenings, guest speakers and panelists, please visit Ossining Documentary & Discussion Website: ossiningdocumentaries.org; Facebook: ossiningdocumentaries.
Twenty-five years after “Paris Is Burning” introduced the art of voguing to the world, “Kiki” revisits New York City’s thriving underground ballroom scene. It’s a larger-than- life world in which LGBTQ youths of color are empowered by staging elaborate dance competitions that showcase their dynamic choreography, fabulous costumes, and fierce attitude. It’s also a safe-haven for struggling, at-risk teens who find acceptance, support, and friendship within the Kiki community. Distributed by IFC FILMs, “KIKI” was first screened in February 2017 and has since been awarded Winner – Teddy Award (Berlin International Film Festival; Winner – Emerging Filmmaker Award (Outfest); Winner – Kathleen Bryant Edwards Award for Human Rights (Full Frame Film Festival).Follow KIKI: Facebook: kikimovie ; Instagram: kiki_movie; Twitter: #kikimovie