Date & Time
Thursday, June 20, 2019
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
Robert W. Fieseler discusses "Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation." A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.
In partnership with The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Chicago
At 57th Street Books
About the book: An essential work of American civil rights history, "Tinderbox" reconstructs the 1973 fire that devastated New Orleans’ subterranean gay community. Buried for decades, the Up Stairs Lounge tragedy has only recently emerged as a catalyzing event of the gay liberation movement. In revelatory detail, Robert W. Fieseler chronicles the tragic event that claimed the lives of thirty-one men and one woman on June 24, 1973, at a New Orleans bar, the largest mass murder of gays until 2016. Relying on unprecedented access to survivors and archives, Fieseler creates an indelible portrait of a closeted, blue- collar gay world that flourished before an arsonist ignited an inferno that destroyed an entire community. The aftermath was no less traumatic―families ashamed to claim loved ones, the Catholic Church refusing proper burial rights, the city impervious to the survivors’ needs―revealing a world of toxic prejudice that thrived well past Stonewall. "Tinderbox" restores honor to a forgotten generation of civil-rights martyrs.
About the author: Robert W. Fieseler is the acclaimed debut author of "Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation" – winner of the 2019 Edgar Award in Best Fact Crime and finalist for the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction. Fieseler graduated co-valedictorian from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is a recipient of the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship. A proud gay American, he married his longtime partner at Walden Pond and currently resides in New Orleans.