Inside Out 2022: Our Review of ‘Tramps!’

Inside Out 2022: Our Review of ‘Tramps!’

Tramps!, the latest documentary from director Kevin Hegge, premiered on BFI Flare and continues its festival run with Inside Out. His previous feature covered Canadian artists and for this feature me moves across the pond to Britain. He specifically looks at a group of people who, individually, weaved in and out of London’s scenes from the 1970s to the 1980s. Those decades saw the Blitz kids transform from punks to interpreters of the New Romantic movement to, in some cases, the Neo Naturists. There’s a lot of name dropping. The kind that would make Alan Cross listeners or MuchMoreMusic viewers reminisce and think of the kind of scenesters they wished they were as kids. Siouxsie Sioux, etc. But most of its interviewees are more obscure artists like John Maybury and Philip Salon. These artists had their 15 minutes of British level fame and are still around to tell their tales.

There are more references and more interviewees of course, but Tramps! uses the transition period between its second and third act to talk about Leigh Bowery. They are more than just a reference that drag queens fight about in Rupaul’s Drag Race. It is marvelous to see these interviewees’ faces light up when talking about them, as well as it did when they talk about each other. That’s what makes this documentary special. However, the New Romantics isn’t the lovefest I make it out to be. The documentary is honest about the contradictions of elitism and poverty that plagued the scene. Tramps! isn’t perfect, as Hegge could have gotten bigger gets although in fairness, the documentary’s white whale, Boy George, would be problematic to interview in these times. Nonetheless, it’s nice to see a documentary with an elder 2LGBT+ generation educate the children and tell us what we missed.

Find out how to watch Tramps! here.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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