!! OMG, they’re back: The New Romantics return to NYC in ‘Tramps!’ a documentary by Kevin Hegge !!


Tramps! A documentary film by Kevin Hegge

A scene from Tramps! by Kevin Hegge

After having its world premiere at London’s prestigious BFI Flare film festival a few months ago, Toronto-based filmmaker Kevin Hegge‘s (@theekevinhegge) new documentary Tramps! has made its way across the pond to NYC for Newfest (where USA residents can stream it until October 26), before going on tour in Europe and the UK this Fall and Winter season (OMG.BLOG had the chance to see the film at the 2022 Inside Out LGBTQ+ Film Festival in Toronto).

While Hegge’s first film featured familiar faces to North American audiences (Bruce LaBruce, Kathleen Hannah, Vaginal Davis), Tramps! takes a deep dive into the 1980s pop-cultural and fashion movement known as The New Romantics. The era spawned the likes of pop icon Boy George, fashion and performance art legend Leigh Bowery, and acclaimed choreographer Michael Clark.

Tramps! provides a genealogy of like-minded artists that predated the ’80s, such as Derek Jarman, and illustrates how they laid the foundations for the creative subcultures that followed. Finally, the film looks at how those subcultures transformed in the wake of such epidemics as AIDS and rampant casual drug use, which claimed many lives in these creative communities—some who became iconic names posthumously, such as Leigh Bowery.

In a pivotal scene in the movie, the New Romantics travel to NYC where the infamous club promoter Susanne Bartsch helps jettison the motley crew of proto-drag fashionistas into the headlines—so its apt that the film’s tour kicks off in the city.

Tramps! Film posterThe decades of creative resilience described by the generation-spanning subjects in this film act as a direct message of hope to artists in a time when we need it most. Ultimately, Tramps! is an allegorical gesture to artists of any generation trying to navigate how to produce work in an aggressively capitalist political economy.

Tramps! is now available to stream for USA residents as part of Newfest until October 26. Watch the film here or check out a teaser clip after the jump!

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