“Pick Your Persona: A Cindy Sherman Ball” at Walker Art Center will offer a free glimpse Thursday night of underground-ball culture of the type depicted in the film “Paris Is Burning.”

A popular entertainment among gay black males in the 1980s, with roots in Harlem’s drag-ball scene of the ’20s, the balls are experiencing a local revival. They feature various categories of “walk-offs,” or fashion-runway competition. Vogueing — attempting to outpose one’s opponents — is the “marquee event, the most dramatic and athletic,” said organizer Xavier Rucker, but other categories, like who can act the most straight, are almost as popular.

Rucker, who books models for the Minneapolis agency Vision Management Group, has a sideline in his House of Legion, a group of ball habitués who often compete — fiercely, of course — with another local group, House of Bordeaux. Thursday night’s walk-off is choreographed by Mathew Janczewski, with staging assistance from fashion designer Emma Berg. Contestants are to dress like their favorite characters from the Sherman photography exhibit currently up at the museum. As for Rucker, “I’ll be wearing Emma Berg,” he said. □

Pick Your Persona

When: 6:30 p.m. Thu.

Where: Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

Admission: Free.