The cast of "House on Fire" Source: World of Wonder

Review: 'House on Fire' Burns Up the Screen

JC Alvarez READ TIME: 3 MIN.

The famed and legendary Houses that existed at the height of the scene in the 1990s started to crumble as the onset of AIDS claimed many within this community (mostly the very young, minority Blacks and Hispanics, disenfranchised and often forgotten). Looking past the tragedies of the past, the ballroom scene found a way to endure; after all, in these spaces many of its LGBTQ+ members found the most validation, a celebrity often denied to them in the world above. At the ball, everyone was a star, and rewarded for sharing their "realness."

The Houses that flourished continued the tradition of adopting the names and titles of fashion's most renowned artists. Under the wing of a House Mother or Father, the "children" (Black, brown, trans, etc.) found acceptance, and a sense of family. Vogueing on the runway was their weapon of choice. Their maneuvering became so iconic it would spawn a competition series: "Legendary" broadcast to the world, and introduced a new generation to the ballroom scene.

Amidst the scenes of rising stars, and emerging at the top of the board, is the House of Miyake-Mugler. The legendary house is now the focus of a new original docuseries "House On Fire" from World of Wonder (the production team behind the award-winning "RuPaul's Drag Race").

This new reality series follows its cast from their day-to-day lives and into the secretive seduction of the ballroom scene. A celebrity hairstylist, Yusef Mugler, is the House Father and is supported by House Mother and overall "eye candy," Exotic Mugler, who is also known as Andre Jordan Hilton. Under their roof in the House of Miyake-Mugler are some of the community's most talented personalities and aspiring names, each with their ambitions.

Chanel Mugler is known for giving face and speaking her mind. Lolita Mugler is, at heart, a performer who has found an entirely new purpose in this chosen family and renewed inspiration in the ballroom scene. Brooklyn, the "baby" in the house and the most decorated vogue dancer among them, is beginning a journey to transition and aspires to be the modeling industry's newest face – a goal that supermodel and transwoman herself Leyna Bloom is more than happy to support her sister with, but Leyna has an agenda of her own and is working herself back into the good graces of the rest of the house. Let the drama begin!

Though the formula remains unchanged (after almost two decades of Bravo's "Real Housewives" franchise) what is apparent going into "House On Fire" is the series' incentive to be aspirational. In the daylight, the cast live their professional lives and pursuits, but in the evening the "real stakes" take on an entirely different scope. Much of what consumes them all leads to the competitive drive and alternate dimension of "The Ballroom." In those singular spaces, a fight for survival and acceptance is primal, as is the motto "you must be prepared to leave it on the runway."

Shade is in the mix, but this chosen family endeavors to prove that what makes them stand out from the pack is their close devotion to one another – and anyone who might upset that balance is in for a surprise. AJ Boardray wants in, but he may have to deal with alpha male Roz Mugler, who is not about to admit anyone who isn't up to snuff. Tati Mugler is one of Miyake-Mugler's most prominent faces, but even she gets struck with insecurities and worries, proving that the challenges of the ballroom are real and wrought with consequences.

At the New York premiere, hosted in Brooklyn on Monday, June 3, at 9 Bob Note bar space, the cast was in full bloom on the red carpet, grateful for the celebration that coincided with the opening of this season's Pride festivities. For many of them, the evening was a long time coming, and they all agreed it was about time they revealed themselves to the world and invited the ballroom culture into everyone's streaming consciousness.

House Mother Exotic Mugler commented, "I'm super excited to show the world who we are." House Father and series Executive Producer Yusef Mugler added, "It's a labor of love, and so important to our culture." Looking every bit as ravishing as expected, Leyna Bloom arrived and worked the carpet in a striking, bejeweled minidress. "We come together, and celebrate how unique we are," she said. "We need to celebrate those differences of being unique."

This is "House On Fire!" The roof is lit, the runway is ready, and the battle for the trophy is just part of the heightened drama.

"House On Fire" is streaming now, exclusively on WOW Presents Plus.

by JC Alvarez

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".

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