‘Shakedown’ was a series of parties founded by and for African American women in Los Angeles that featured go-go dancing and strip shows for the city’s lesbian underground scene. Inspired by transwoman Mahogany who, as the mother of the scene, presided over queer strip shows and balls for non-heterosexual audiences in the 1980s, butch Ronnie Ron created, produced and presented the new shows. In them, the largely female clientele from the ‘hood’ slipped dollar notes into lap dancers’ panties while celebrating lesbian sexuality to pulsating hip-hop beats.
Showing the protagonists backstage and in interviews, this intimate chronicle reveals that ‘Shakedown’ was more than just a strip club; as one of the few spaces for lesbian subculture, the club brought together and galvanised a community of freaks and queers of colour, and for that it suffered police reprisals. The film’s director is herself a member of this community; using exclusive archive material, posters and flyers, her film takes a personal look at female desire that is rarely presented on the big screen.
by Leilah Weinraub USA 2018 English 82’ Colour Documentary form


Written and Directed by Leilah Weinraub
Cinematography Leilah Weinraub
Editing Matthew Hollis
Music Tim Dewit
Producers Riel Roch-Decter, Pilar Wiley, Drake Burnette, Michael Hekmat

Produced by


Leilah Weinraub

Born in Los Angeles, USA in 1979, she currently lives in New York. She is an artist and director and also CEO of the Hood By Air fashion label. Her work focuses on the themes of race, class and gender with a particular interest in queer communities and people of colour. A short version of Shakedown was presented at the 2017 Whitney Biennial.


2018 Shakedown; Panorama

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018