dreams come true some other other other ones come too
J PRINT_05A copy.jpg



Shakedown "The Whitney Cut" will be screening as part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial May 20th and 21st. 




Born 1979 in Los Angeles, CA; lives in New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA

Leilah Weinraub’s film SHAKEDOWN (2017) is an intoxicating, dreamlike portrait of Los Angeles’s African - American lesbian strip club scene, in which a network of female performers attached to a weekly party called Shakedown take center stage. As the women reflect on their lives and work, a promised land comes into view built around sexual display and the desiring gaze of queer women of color, a utopian community organized and sustained by a BLACK, female microeconomy where money and explicit performances are exchanged in a spirit of ecstatic self-determination. When after several years this utopia erodes, the Shakedown dancers are forced to adapt and confront the reality of commodified labor and hourly wages. A West Coast cousin of the mostly male ballroom scene in New York, the subculture Weinraub documents in SHAKEDOWN is propelled by female creators infamous in their own community but whose cultural contributions are alternately pirated or ignored by society at large.  


Blending together rich visual lyricism with an assemblage of interviews, original recordings of performances, archival footage and indie ads, SHAKEDOWN chronicles the personal and professional relationships of the party’s dancers and organizers, among them Ronnie-Ron, Shakedown Productions’s creator and emcee; Mahogany, a veteran performer and legendary mother of the scene, Egypt, Shakedown’s star dancer and Jazmine the Queen of Shakedown. Mapping out economies of pleasure rarely seen onscreen, Weinraub herself emerges as a desiring participant, rejecting the pose of “neutral onlooker” in favor the intimate gaze of a collaborator and confidante.


In addition to her film practice, Weinraub is an artist and executive as well. As CEO of Hood By Air (HBA), the New York–based fashion collective known for their ready-to-wear, Weinraub helped to radicalize fashion by championing what she calls “modern people”: the rising class of consumers who subvert traditional markers of race, class, and gender. As a filmmaker, Weinraub has sought a new phase in the avant-garde, one led by autonomous communities of color, whose creative output has often been extracted and monetized by mass culture but whose stories have rarely been told on their own terms.



SHAKEDOWN (2017) chronicles explicit performances in an underground lesbian club in los angeles. Filmed from 2002 – 2015 the story functions as a legend where money is both myth and material. Cumulatively, questions arise about how to diagram the before and after of a utopic moment.  Directed by Leilah Weinraub.