Let’s Have a ‘Kiki’

Gia Marie Love in KIKI, a Sundance Selects release
Photo courtesy of IFC Films


In New York City, LGBTQ youth of color gather out on the Christopher Street Pier to practice 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.”

Chi Chi Mizrahi and Twiggy Pucci Garçon in KIKI, a Sundance Selects release
Photo courtesy of IFC Films


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 toward political influence and the conquering of affirming gender expressions.

The spectacular Kiki Balls, a consistent component of the Kiki subculture, offer performers a safe and empowered space to enact various modes of gender expression, including a stylized femininity that, if executed in the communities in which they grew up, could provoke ridicule and violence.

Christopher Waldorf at a Kiki Ball in a scene from KIKI, a Sundance Selects release
Photo courtesy of IFC Films


XFINITY LGBTQ was given the opportunity to attend a Kiki Ball in New York City with a few of our closest friends. We spent some time with the cast and crew of Kiki and discussed all manner of topics from what they hope people will take away from the film, to whether they prefer tongue pops or death drops. Check out our exclusive interviews below and be sure to watch the film Kiki,” available to rent in the XFINITY LGBTQ Film and TV Destination on X1.

“Cross Examination” with the cast of “Kiki”

“Hey Gurl Hey” with Sara Jordenö (Writer/director of “Kiki”)

Sara Jordenö is an NYC and Gothenburg-based Swedish visual artist and documentary filmmaker whose stories often concern communities facing different types of marginalization and how they position themselves in the world. Her cinematic projects and commissions have been shown internationally at venues such as the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Viennale, 5th Berlin Biennial, Modern Museum and more. “Kiki” is her feature documentary debut.

“Hey Gurl Hey” with Twiggy Pucci Garçon (Co-writer of “Kiki”)

Twiggy Pucci Garçon is a Virginia-born, NYC-based House/Ballroom runway performer. He is a senior program officer at the True Colors Fund, Cyndi Lauper’s national nonprofit organization focused on ending LGBT youth homelessness. Twiggy is also the founder of what was the Kiki scene’s largest international house, the Opulent Haus of PUCCI.

“Hey Gurl Hey” with Gia Marie Love

Gia Love is a trans woman of color from New York City and is the Queen Mother of the House of Juicy, one of the many houses in the underground Kiki scene. Gia’s work in the Kiki Ballroom community has extended from community activism to providing HIV and STI prevention services for at-risk LGBTQ youth. Gia lives her life as a courageous woman of trans experience who overcame adversity by living in her truth unapologetically and authentically.

“Hey Gurl Hey” with Izana “Zariya Mizrahi” Vidal

Izana Lee Vidal (also known as Zariya Mizrahi) was born on June 18th, 1996, in Harlem, New York. Zariya has been part of the House and Ballroom community for approximately three years. Upon entering the Ballroom scene, she decided to transition at the age of 16 to pursue her true destiny, to live her life as the woman she was meant to be. Now Zariya is a member of the Kiki House of Unbothered Cartier and the Legendary House Of Mizrahi, where she walks Fem Queen Face, which is considered a beauty category for trans women.

“Hey Gurl Hey” with Junior LaBeija of “Paris Is Burning

Opulence personified. Junior LaBeija is one of the last living survivors from “Paris Is Burning,” and perhaps the most fabulous ball commentator to grace this planet.

Do you think “Kiki” will become the new “Paris Is Burning?” Comment below, or take to social media with #XFINITYLGBTQ to let us know.

Scott Conant is the LGBTQ Editor for Comcast XFINITY. You can watch his top picks and more LGBTQ-related titles in the XFINITY LGBTQ Film & TV Collection

To visit the LGBTQ Film & TV Collection on XFINITY, or say “LGBTQ” into the X1 Voice Remote.

On X1: Navigate to “Popular Destinations” > LGBTQ Film & TV
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