Take a trip down memory lane and look back on Vogue Pittsburgh. This event series brought life back to the Pittsburgh Ballroom Scene and provided a safe space for individuals to perfect their craft and compete for bragging rights.
This article was resurfaced from our 2012 archives and was written by pittsburgh based artist and public historian Harrison Apple. For the original article please click here.
VOGUE PITTSBURGH (2012 – 2014)
The Vogue and Ballroom Scene in Pittsburgh has a rich history. Reaching back to the late 1990s, local houses such as the House of Tre’zur, the House of Domination, and the House of Miyoshi laid the groundwork for a loving and competitive community, quickly gaining visibility in the national scene.
In August of 2012, “True T Entertainment” – a Ballroom and Community Health Group – threw their first monthly rumble ball “Vogue Pittsburgh.” As the plans were coming together for the first Vogue Pittsburgh (there will have been five as of May 2013), the founders and operators of the VIA Music and New Media Festival were renovating their first venue, 6119 Penn Ave.
While documenting 6119’s demolition, I came across early posters for the fledling ballroom community of the 90s and early 2000s. As 6119 became the temporary home for Vogue Pittsburgh, I began talking with older members of the community about the history of the building, a conversation that has grown to become a narrative of many voices, revisiting the early growth of the Pittsburgh ballroom scene from 1996 to 2013. For the first “Vogue Pittsburgh”, we managed to find a tape of the last ball thrown at 6119, 9 years ago to the day (August 2003), when it was known as “Cabarets”. Bridging 9 years of history made for a great event, as well as spurring collaboration to recollect the early history of Vogue (in) Pittsburgh. Though 6119 can not be the permanent home for Vogue Pittsburgh, it will always hold a special place for this project.
A longer documentary (in collaboration with Sheek Ebony) is forthcoming including more early footage from community members and extended interviews