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The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 7, July 1973
File 005
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The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 7, July 1973 - File 005. 1973-07. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 7, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2967/show/2950.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1973-07). The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 7, July 1973 - File 005. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2967/show/2950

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 7, July 1973 - File 005, 1973-07, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 7, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2967/show/2950.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 7, July 1973
Contributor
  • Frank, Phil
Date July 1973
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 28912012
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 005
Transcript A Window in The Orange Glow from 1 "See if you can't find out something about my friend Leon for me. Uhh, he's about 28 or 29, and he's from Florida, and he has a missing finger." He grabbed my hand. "And I was going to the Up Stairs with him yesterday, but some guy offered to buy me a drink on the way, so I didn't go." He squeezed his eyes as tight as his fist, making one enormous tear that trailed down his still unshaven cheek. "Leon was the kind of guy that if he only had $3 left, he'd buy you a beer." He looked at his whiskey again, and then back at me: "Leon, he was a hell of a nice guy." * * * Sunday afternoon at the Up Stairs was much hke Sunday afternoon at any of the Quarter's two dozen- or-so other gay bars. An afternoon for quiet friends and cheap beer and conversation not necessarily centered on cruising for tricks. in the mid-Quarter gay bars on Bourbon Street and surrounding gay restaurants, it's the "beautiful people" gays with their bow ties and bloody Marys and maybe brunch squeezed in somewhere in between. On Rampart Street, it's countless refugees from small Southern towns, middle-aged hairdressers and decorators who can't make it here and can't go home, re- pasting off buffet spreads like you'll only find elsewhere or. Southern Baptist picnics. And on Iberville Street, it's the hustlers and their Johns staggering in from the night before, carousing at only a slightly subdued key. Except for the Up Stairs on Iberville. Since it first opened in November of 1969 (after being sold by retiring Wanda Long, who moved to San Bernardino), the Up Stairs set out to give Iberville Street a new kind of anchor. A small community of regulars grew up around it, and their Sunday beer busts for a dollar would.draw a motley crowd of tolerant and community-seeking men and occasional women. When the Metropolitan Community Church wanted to organize its first mission there, the Up Stairs let it meet in the "third room" out back that escaped serious damage in Sunday's blaze. When Courier Theater Critic Suzanne Fosberg's Public Theater presentations at Audubon Park were rained out or sent on the road, the Up Stairs lent her the same facilities they had used for the annual Easter bonnet contest or the Halloween drag show or the "nellydrama" cabaret productions for which the third room's tiny stage was originally built. "The productions ranged from awful to fascin ating," Fosberg recalls, naming perished friends and regulars from the bar who had occasionally helped her with the technical or acting duties for her free theatricals around town. "It was more Hke a social center than just another place for drinking." (For her remembrances of the Up Stairs, see p. 7.) On Sunday last, the arched opening between the main bar and the second room was festooned with Fourth of July decorations, in place to publicize the forthcoming festivities. The bar was its usual clutter of leftover Mardi Gras streamers and Christmas decorations, oriental lanterns and cardboard/plastic whiskey advertising displays, Burt Reynolds posters, and campy fountains gurgling in several corners—all of it in a big, dimly-lit room muffled with red-flocked velvet wallpaper and carpets-with a white baby grand piano-bar commanding one corner where the Marriott Hotel's featured pianist David Gary was guesting for fun. Shortly after two customers were asked to leave, an unidentified patron, thinking he smelled gasoline fumes, opened the steel fire-door opening into the main bar from the stairway. The fumes ignited, and someone yelled "fire." Bartender "Buddy" Rasmussem yelled, "C'mon, follow me" as the lights went out, leading an estimated 25 to 50 people to safety through the third floor room-whose similar steel fire-door would have been f routinely locked had Rasmussen not been there. t As Rasmussen's escapees were filing out, the stools? at the bar were still standing in the orange glow gath- s ering around the stairwell. A window by the piano-baft had been pried open, admitting light and the promise of a safe escape out the three windows facing Chartres Street for those who still remained. But suddenly the . ceiling, the decorations, and the carpet exploded. ^ was not our purpose, that day. A dyke band not far behind us, provided great rhythym for marching, including, as we reached Times Square, "Give my regards to Broadway" "Hail, Hail, The Gangs' All Here,'' and other goodies. At one point on 7th Avenue, on the balcony of a highrise apartment building, a woman was motioning to us and pointing to a large, green parrot perched on her wrist, proclaiming that the bird was gay. In a few moments, whole blocks of the march were chanting, "Free Gay Bird-Free Gay Bird." You would have loved it. Moving right along, we passed an abortion demonstration, for as well as against. It was a real meeting of worlds. An understanding ROAR went up everywhere. More of "Masturbate and Smash the State" was heard, then on our merry way. Further down the avenue, (a true high point in my day) were three guys wearing what some refer to as radical drag, posing in fron of the dical drag, posing in front of the Veterans Administration Building. They were dressed in WAC uniforms. They had a Lambda on the sleeve and the cap and gra great old-lady corrective -type shoes on their big feet-the shoes purposely too small. Their facial make-up was a riot, the wigs in the Andrews-Sisters-Act, heavenly. The one in the middle, had a bugle and a long Fu-Man- Chu moustache. The guard on the door at the Veterans Administration Building just looked on in utter horror. He'll never be the same. same. Thousands upon thousands lined rthe streets all the way down 7th/ Washington Square. Some hung out of their apartment windows, car windows, bus windows, truck windows, store windows, and certainly, a lot of closet windows. More chants went up-"Off the sidewalks-into the streets" "Out of the hotels-into the Streets." We went on and on. As we neared Washington Square, the excitement in the air was unbelievable. At that moment in time, all of Greenwich ■ Village, at least, was gay. Everyone filed into the famous old park, where some of the parade marshalls, who had been there all morning setting up a huge stage in front of the grand arch, and thousands of others, were already waiting. It was now about 3;30. We had been parading since Noon, and welcomed the chance to rest our weary bones. As the different contingents from all the different cities arrived, they were announced, and their banners and flags placed on and around the stage for all to see. GAA of New York- of Philadelphia-of Washington, G LF, LFL, STAR, Queens Liberation, Mattachine, Baughters of Bilitis, MCC. They all checked* in. At about 3:45, the programs' M.C., Vito Russo, announced that the festivities would begin exactly at 4 o'clock, as scheduled. The people from the press settled themselves down in front behind cameras started rolling, and the show began. Phil, I, like so many of my gay brothers and sisters am not particularly Politically oriented. Imagine our joy when it was an nounced that the show would not consist primarily of political speeches, but rather would entertain all of us. To kick off the program, Barbara Gittings, a famous Lesbian Speaker from Philadelphis, spoke to the assembled mass abbiitfree- dom, rights, and happiness. She really got everyone on their feet .with her statement directed to, "All the closet cases. Rest easy, my friends," she said, "with what we're doing here today, the hinges on your closet door will be well- oiled! *' Following Ms. Gittings, we heard from that well-known gay activist from California, Morris Kight; one of the oldest living gay revolutionaries. Mr. Kight Folk on the West Coast, and gave us food for thought with his talk about pred about prejudice and discrimination in the past, and how we were "never, never to let it happen again". He was very well received. The show went on with various male and female entertainers singing about gay love, gay free- DAUGHTERS OF BILITIS Dallas Chapter The Nation's Oldest Lesbian Organization Consciousness Raising - Educational Projects - BY AND FOR WOMEN JOIN US - First and Third Fridays Each Month Be a part of the Scene Call (214) 824-0770 or BOX 5944 DALLAS, TEX 75222 Page 4
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