I should preface this by saying I am not really a fan of musicals, don’t generally like cheesy stuff, and don’t really understand the appeal of watching models walk down catwalks. Given that all of these elements appear in Sheldon Larry’s Leave It On The Floor, you would think it’s not really my cup of tea. However, this film is about the ballroom scene famously depicted in the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, and features fierce, fabulous, dazzling dancing. So it’s entirely fascinating as well as being fantastically good fun.
“You had me at dancing” I hear you say, telepathically. I know, right? “So… what kind of dancing do we get to see?” I hear you ask, telepathically (It’s that time of the festival where everyone is so sleep deprived we start to hear voices, and have lengthy conversations with them). Well what if I said that this gem features moves choreographed by the man who works for Beyonce? Yep, that in itself is a recipe to salivate over. And the rest of the film is just as tasty.
Bradley Darnell Lyle, or “Bad Brad” as he is later called, is kicked out of home when his mother catches him watching gay porn. Brad meets the very cute Carter in a drug store and the two have a flirtatious encounter. But mutual attraction is not the only thing that emerges out of this meeting. The boys have pick-pocketed each other. Brad pursues Carter (whilst singing, of course - because it’s a musical and what chase scene would be complete without a song?) and stumbles upon the ballroom scene in LA. Events unfold at a cracking pace. Brad is chatted up by Princess who teaches him the lingo, rules and etiquette of the House Ball, and introduces him to Queef Latina (!!!), the sassy and protective “Mother” of the “House of Eminence”. The competition heats up on and off the floor as Princess and Carter fight for Brad’s affections. Things escalate to crisis point, unfolding in struggles between love and hate, and even life and death.
The film deals with fairly heavy issues, including homophobia and transphobia, queer homelessness, and suicide. However, it is also ultimately an affirmation of the strength and talents of the performers in the ballroom scene, and the love shared between members of the queer “family”. The original soundtrack is pumping and infectiously catchy, and the dance scenes, “walks”, and runway battles are a triumph. If you love your drag-queens sarcastic but with hearts of gold, your manly men oiled-up with rippling muscles, and your House Ball categories made contemporary with a “GaGa twist” then this film definitely delivers.
So, if you are looking for a way to re-energize after glutting yourself on the overabundance of delectable festival treats, Leave It On The Floor - Session 87 - will get your body moving and raise your spirits, leaving you feeling high on life. What more could you ask of a closing night film? And what better way to get the post-film party started? See you on the floor y'all!!