“War on High Heels” by Amanda Santiago

What happens in the nightlife stays in the nightlife. War On High Heels is an early photographic docuseries that will eventually merge into a full-length documentary film. Exploring the late hours within these not-so-secret venues is where I capture tasteful, in-the-moment film photographs of the most rock n’ roll burlesquers of New York City. Between loud music, colorful lights and a predominantly queer and femme cast and audience, there is a thrilling exchange of striptease and vocal support that keeps everyone in a hardcore mood. 

A reflection of who I am as an artist is to expose the raunchy, the explicit, and the provocative. Burlesque, originally displaced with its dancing ban due to the New York City Cabaret Law during the mid to late 1920’s, has only been given their freedom of performance art in recent 2017. The burlesque scene has become a historic part of New York City entertainment and nightlife, and I choose wholeheartedly to document the unfolding of this rebellious act. 

My process is approachable, flexible, and ready for anything that could go wrong. Packed with additional rolls of film, business-wear attire and my black platform heeled boots, I always assure the performers that I will only capture their presence on stage with their comfort and consent. The answer is nearly always “Yes.” My mission is to illuminate the essence of their sensual auras and delicacy through their sexuality, their dominance and their overall intensity as they stare at you from a higher ground. In the midst of their performances are these compelling poses that are tranquil, seductive, and extremely hypnotizing. Suddenly, they are dancing for you and only you

War On High Heels remains the art of documenting the artistic end and beginning of the revolution of burlesque. “War,” meaning the fight against, and “On High Heels,” resulting from the feminine power of performance and art. It is a project dedicated to women, to queer folks, to New York City, and to the limitlessness of the burlesque community.

About the Artist:

Amanda Santiago (she/they) is an actor, writer, photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and Universal Creator and Destroyer. Born and raised in Brooklyn and Queens, NY, Santiago applies her esoteric views and wisdom into her multifaceted work. She leans into spiritual education by touching on occult practices such as tarot, palmistry, astrology, metaphysics and much more. Santiago recently graduated with a Bachelors in Theatre Arts from SUNY Purchase College, where she continues to pursue multiple mediums in the arts. Her recent photography docuseries “War On High Heels” is the first time she is digging into the claws of journalism and photography in order to capture NYC nightlife in a tasteful light.

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