Thurs, May 19th 7:30 |
“That show was about freedom—freedom as an artist, freedom as a human being, freedom to fucking speak the truth.” —Jose Gutierrez Xtravaganza, dancer
In 1991, the smash documentary Truth or Dare brought audiences behind the scenes of Madonna’s groundbreaking Blond Ambition tour, which courted controversy with the Vatican for its sex-positive theatrics at the height of the AIDS crisis. But for gay fans, the heart of the film belonged to her proudly flamboyant dancers: Salim, the chiseled Belgian; Jose and Luis, who Madonna recruited from the underground drag ball scene to help choreograph the video for “Vogue”; Oliver, the only straight guy among the bunch. Backstage footage shows the dancers engaging in racy “pillow talk” with Madonna, who becomes a sort of mother figure to the wild young men.
A quarter-century after being thrust into the spotlight, Strike a Pose reunites the dancers to find out where they are now. A few of them settled a legal claim against Madonna for outing them without their permission. Some have struggled with drugs and alcohol. Some are still coming to terms with an HIV diagnosis. One of them has died of AIDS.
It’s a touching story of talented artists who have matured into complex, introspective adults—and who are finally receiving credit for opening hearts and minds through their visible role in Truth or Dare. As one dancer puts it: “The daring, progressive message in this movie was that you can be gay and happy and successful. You didn’t have to be hiding in the back alley of some sleazy bar. You could be yourself.”
Strike a Pose: Dirs Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan 2016 Netherlands/Belgium 83 min
Sponsored by: Les Lewis & Rick Watkins
Cascade AIDS Project
Northwest Film Center
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