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Episode 1

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Pepper Labeija talks about the structure of the balls and the aesthetic.

In this episode of the documentary, Pepper Labeija talks about how the culture of the ball and how each person’s life brought them there.

This begins with a shot of Pepper, focusing solely on him. As he begins to explain the balls, the film cuts to a clip of the competitions with Pepper voicing over it. This voice over allows the emotion in Pepper’s voice to virtually spill over into the world of the ball as he’s explaining it in his own words. This helps to contrast the montage editing being used by creating a sense of continuity throughout the scene. As Pepper’s voice is describing this magical world, the audience has a chance to see it happening before their eyes.

This is followed by a cut to a scene on a street of a random man. While he is never seen again in the film, the few comments he makes hold a great weight. He explains that balls are only comparable a dazzling world such as Wonderland. For the gay community, balls feel just right while the rest of the world “is just not like that.” This shows the deep connection that the gay community at the time had to the ball scene, and how many of them viewed it as the only place that they could truly fit in. This is important because it brings into question the societal norms that are pushing them into this isolated community where the goal is to continue to try to fit in.