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Published on Feb 7, 2010
A raw intro to Chicago House Ball History, starting from 1986. Prior to that, there were Drag Balls in Chicago and New York as early as the 1920s. We start from 1986, because this is when Chicago first started adopting the Harlem Ballroom Format, which included the dance "Vogueing" as a category at these functions, and the formation of family-oriented cliques called "houses". Another distinction is that the Harlem Vogue/House Ball Format of the 70s introduced the idea of many kinds of people competing in a wide range of categories, not just drag. Also, the idea of "Supermodels" came from the ballroom community, because prior to that, a model was one of the lowest jobs you could have on the fashion industry ladder: in essence, you were no more than a coat hanger or store mannequin displaying clothes. One of the prototype Harlem houses, the LaChanels, began exploring the mod looks of the 60s and 70s, a pared-down expression that was escaping from the beads, feathers and sequins of the cabaret/vaudeville theatrical influence represented by such groups as the Delightful Ladies of Brooklyn. Basically, balls have been around since Marie Antoinette, but this "raw-cumentary" concentrates on Chicago's transition from the Finnie Club/Jacques Cristion "Sissie" balls of the southside to incorporating Harlem NYC Ballroom format.