Shakedown, the critically-acclaimed documentary art film by filmmaker and vanguard artist Leilah Weinraub
Shakedown, the critically-acclaimed documentary art film by filmmaker and vanguard artist Leilah Weinraub

Pornhub known primarily for adult entertainment will debut its first non-adult themed content, Shakedown, the critically-acclaimed documentary art film by filmmaker and vanguard artist Leilah Weinraub. The film will screen for the month of March on the streaming network.

Capturing the early-aughts underground Los Angeles Black lesbian owned and operated strip club from which the film gets its name, Shakedown chronicles the personal and professional relationships of the club’s female performers, the Shakedown Angels. Weinraub maps out an all cash economy run by Black Women rarely seen on screen. She follows the party’s dancers and organizers, among them: Ronnie-Ron, Shakedown Productions’ creator and emcee; Mahogany, the legendary mother of the scene; Egypt, Shakedown’s star dancer; and Jazmine, the Queen of Shakedown. Weinraub herself emerges as a participant, rejecting the pose of “neutral onlooker” in favor of the intimate gaze of a collaborator and confidante.

Leilah Weinraub’s process of creating Shakedown spanned a decade and consisted of impressionistic cinematography using available cameras and archival work preserving the flyers and AV recordings used by the club for promotional purposes. The resulting visual presentation is an emotionally immersive, subjective experience similar to that of a personal memory.

“Shakedown explores themes of race, class, currency, and identity through the lens of Weinraub’s boundary-breaking vision,” said Corey Price, VP, Pornhub. “Here at Pornhub, we’re invested in celebrating artists and visionaries like Leilah and in sharing diverse narratives of human pleasure and sexuality. We are so excited to share her work with a wider public audience for the very first time.”

Shakedown is an experimental documentary film and time-based work of art. It is an essential piece of LA history, of radical queer filmmaking and contemporary video art. Weinraub chose Pornhub as a partner for the film’s online release with the intention that the film be seen and made openly accessible to a wide audience before placement in an arts institution.

The film screened at the 2017 Whitney Biennial, the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, Tate Modern, MoMA PS1, and Weinraub’s first solo show at gallery Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Harlem, NY and festivals internationally.

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