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Robert W. Fieseler Author Talk

Saturday, October 13 - 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Rines Auditorium
Audience: Adults, Teen Events, Seniors

Robert W. Fieseler, author of Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation

An essential work of American civil rights history, Robert W. Fieseler’s Tinderbox mesmerizingly 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, 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.

This program is presented in conjunction with the LGBTQ+ Collection at the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine at USM.