"Excerpts From The Idle Sheets"
The complexity of New York's venerable transgender ballhouse culture has
been documented for nearly a decade by Grandfather Marcel Princess
Christian in his self-published "Idle Sheets". In these all-too-rare
broadsides, Christian presents his reviews of the carryings-on at the
marathon drag balls held monthly in Harlem, Brooklyn, Midtown, and Lower
Manhattan. Here, two selections from his "Idle Sheet" Series.
IDLE SHEET #9
The Idle Sheet Series began in June of 1986 and has traveled the course to
ARTICLES AND DEEDS (AN INTRODUCTION)
reach number nine. Right here, you can be assured that Sheet #10 will,
irrevocably, be the last of this writer's series. "10" is as high as you
can get on The Marathon Circuit. This edition is a Publication -
Production- and Selection of several functions of one person deeply
involved with Ball life: Namely, Marcel Christian. This booklet will
show you the assorted aspects of a person who seriously loves what he does
and has a general fondness for most people who know and live the Ball life.
Christian began the year 1990 advertising a Ball that did not take place,
stretching into the finale of the year having realized that he had
throughout the duration of the months produced what could be reasonably be
titled "The Invisible Ball." But we will leave Marcel Christian's
Invisible Ball business until the very end of this scriptum.
Here within you will read commissioned articles concerned with major Ball
events. You will learn about such things as The Legend Awards and The
Cancer Club. New concepts have been developed such as Mid Ball Grand Prize
and House Trophy. Many matters are explored in these pages. If for no
other reason, why not take a small chance and try to get into the mind of
one Marcel Christian. Grandfather of The Legendary House of Christian
(1977-1990 and into The Future). Get ready for the shaky ride.
PART NINE -- JENNIE AND THE CAMERA CREW 1987
At any affair, there is one thing that adds the glamour of Hollywood and
the panache of Broadway. When the band strikes up, you can hear the
Director yell, "Lights, Camera, Action", then the Ball starts rolling.
Drama has a style that is only enhanced when someone is snapping a camera
or rolling a video to preserve that moment for a 'Day in Eternity'.
Mythology has it that there's a carmel carta God in gold who sits in the
right hand corner of his celestial kingdom on a throne sculptured out of
one large diamond.
Around him are a myriad of hairdressers, make-up artists, shoe-salesmen,
fashion and costume designers, jewelry makers and His Favorite Milliner.
All of these splendid angels made this God beautiful but there was only one
group there that could preserve this beauty. It was the Camera Crew.
Now, God tried not to have any favorites but every so often, the
photographers would find vast pots of gold coin of the realm in their
He gave them great palaces and museums and cathedrals to live in. They had
golden coaches and silver Rolls Royces. Money, jewels, bank accounts and a
everlasting invitation to live in Heaven. God loved his photographers and
the happy camera people loved God.
Now, doesn't this little epitaria tell you something.....Yes, the camera
pictures are very important because they hold for the future the Wonders of
During this recent era of the longstanding Marathon Circuit, a small force
of professional camera people, namely, JENNIE AND THE CREW have set an
updated pace of intimate immediacy and atmosphere supreme. When several
people pinpoint a face and begin to photograph with intricacy that frame of
beauty, it must, indeed, be an award-winning something to gaze upon. Blame
it on the cameras for sending that face into the centuries beyond.
So turn up the Lights, call out the Cameras, and get down on the Action.
THANK YOU, JENNY AND EVERYONE FOR YOUR ENDEAVOR
(Editor's Note: During the marathon balls of 1987, Jennie Livingston and a
small crew filmed the extraordinary footage that would become her
documentary "Paris Is Burning".)
- Marcel Christian, 1989-1990
Photos of Connie Girl Field (left) and Adrian Magnifique by Tina Paul
Rob Roth for The Jackie Factory ©1995
Moved to mothernyc.com and updated February 2000