Shakedown

Director: Leilah Weinraub
2018 | USA | 80m
GENRE: Black/African American | Butch/Femme Issues | Dance | Documentary | Gender | Lesbian | Sex Work | Sexuality
SECTION: Documentary
Expected Guests: Director, Leilah Weinraub, Subject, Egypt

When you come to Shakedown, remember the following: First, you better be ready to tip. And second, “This is a gay club—they dance for girls; if you don’t like it, just have a seat, boo boo, OK?”

Shakedown, a series of parties by and for black women, dominated Los Angeles’s underground lesbian strip club scene from the 1990s through the 2000s. This film is equal parts provocative, touching, sexy, and nostalgic for days long gone. (Special shout-out to the aunties in the vintage footage rocking teeny-tiny bikinis, high-top sneakers, and Coming to America Queen to Be ponytails!) Director Leilah Weinraub captures the glamour, grit, and joy of club life at Shakedown, from welcoming the birth of the first Shakedown baby, to dancers being harassed and arrested by the LAPD. We meet a captivating crew, including Miss Mahogany, a black house mother who has organized parties since the ’80s; Egypt, a femme performer with an alter ego as dominant Sasha Fierce, but a voice so soft you’d never know it was coming from the same person; and Ronnie Ron, Miss Mahogany’s butch lesbian protégé, a brilliant MC and the founder of Shakedown Productions.

It’s a celebration of a unique time and space, crackling with footage that (amazingly) was shot and has survived. So settle in and grab some dollar bills. These girls know how to put on a show.

— TAYLOR HODGES

This film contains sexually explicit material.

Shakedown is a recipient of a Frameline Completion Fund Grant.

SPONSORED BY
48 Hills

CO-PRESENTED BY
Center for Sex and Culture / San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival

  • Premiere Status: Bay Area