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The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 7, July 1973
File 006
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The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 7, July 1973 - File 006. 1973-07. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 5, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2967/show/2951.

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 006. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2967/show/2951

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 006, 1973-07, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 5, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2967/show/2951.

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 006
Transcript Those still in the first bar, many of them tipsy from two hours of the afternoon's beer bust, panicked and rushed the Chartres Street windows, chasing the light, some of them spilling out into the street, but most of them crushed against each other in sixteen minutes of plastic-fed firestorm. It took the Fire Department—headquartered at Central Station just two blocks away-less than two minutes to reach the scene, just two minutes more to hit four-alarm status with the disaster, and just twelve minutes more to put the blaze "under control" (meaning contained, with no more chance of spread). The bodies were neither seen nor suspected until after it was all over. * * * There come, of course, the inevitable questions of "why?" The answers ranged from the irresponsible to the fatalistic to the deeply angry. Channel 8 News Director Alec Gifford went on the air Monday night with his answer, the media's worst indiscretion since Gifford's own performance at the Howard Johnson's tragedy: a "vigilante" group had anonymously phoned him, he said, to declare "war" on the local gay community. The callers named themselves after a cheap movie, Black Mamma, White Mamma, Gifford said, declaring that they were seeking revenge for prior homosexual attacks upon their persons and that they had maps of their future plans. The Police Department immediately repudiated Gifford's "scoop" the following day, but as of then they offered no new clues of their own. Meanwhile, Lawrence Raybourne-a sometime Iberville Street bartender and practicing astrologer—had quickly computed a "chart" on the ill-fated bar, seeking his answers there. "I've never seen a chart this strongly afflicted," he said afterwards, pointing out the way the planets were grouped at right angles into four corners of the 12-sectioned circle. Raybourne said that dangers involving fire, death, and destruction were indieated-and suggested that the rape-murder at LSUNO and new violence in Northern Ireland How The Media Saw it How did the local news media handle the first major tragedy involving New Orleans' usually unmentionable homosexual community? Though more deaths were involved in this tragedy than in the Rault Center fire and the Howard Johnson's fire and shootout, local coverage was comparatively subdued-except for an occasional outburst of tasteless sensationalism. Initial accounts avoided the word "homosexual" altogether. But by Monday morning Channel 6 was calling the bar a hangout for homosexuals, and by Monday afternoon the States-hem had identified the Up Stairs as a hangout for "thieves" and homosexuals. With almost 24 hours to prepare the story (and gay staff members who should know better), the States-Item's indiscretion was inexcusable. The police official quoted in the States-Item saying that homosexuals carry no identification later, apologized to gay community leaders, saying he meant that the "transient" lifestyles of many of the bar's patrons might make identification difficult. (As identification on those bodies was also burned beyond recognition, the entire issue was spurious.) For all the uproar, the States-Item's attention span had lapsed by Wednesday, when the story stayed off page 1 until the "final"; the reped LSUNO coed's funeral and biography received their maudlin play while the 29 df^rd gays were merely stacked in unknown.lists. The story was front oagc in the Times-Picayune and Daily Record for three straight days, and banner DR headlines for two. All editorials discussed only fire laws. The television media's worst reporting job was Alec Gifford's discredited "scoop" Monday night about an alleged terrorist plot. Had Gifford checked out his crank call before broadcasting it, he might have found at least one serious flaw in the claim that his callers were victims of homosexual "attacks." Any prison authority, for example, could have told Gifford that gay people usually are the victims of those attacks rather than the perpetrators. Strong social disapproval of homosexuality-defined by psychiatrists as "homophobia"—usually sanctions such anti-homosexual attacks. Had Gifford been seriously interested in any alleged conspiracies, he might have probed the coincidence that the fourth Sunday in June (this year the 23rd) is the traditional anniversary of the Christopher Street riots in New York City that started the Gay Liberation Movement. Television also failed the local community in the announcements of the hastily-planned memorial services for the victims Monday night at St. George's Episcopal Church. After the Metropolitan Community Church insisted that television cameras not be permitted at the service in order to protect mourners' privacy, the local channels apparently decided to ignore the services completely. By Tuesday, coverage of the disaster had begun to regain some measure of balance and composure again. For the fn«. time, the word "gay" came into use, in a T-V sidebar story. And, curiously enough, the two most sympathetic accounts of the week emerged from the only two women reporters assigned to the story. Sharon SwindalPs account of a visit to the headquarters of the Metropolitan Community Church in the Tuesday Daily Record sought an honest explanation of gay community fears of media and community misrepresentation and misinterpretation. WWL's Rosemary James, whose Monday interviews had made her the least-feared daily media person at the gay leaders' Tuesday press conference, went on the air Tuesday night with a story quietly emphasizing the purely ordinary and common mortality of those who died at the Up Stairs and reporting for the first time the crippled children's benefit- planned there for June 30-that now will not be held. ART THAT LIVES. Thl« is what proud owners and admirers of Bay Houston's art ue at the most accurate way of describing this really riciling art, and tightly so. The finest examples of masculinity to be found in physique art today. Our aim is to present with taste and dignity the male body al its most eiciting and beautiful. Art to be displnyed as what it is, ART, not the usual -pl_.it.c~ type of (..noons offered by so many and called "physique art." These are beautiful double-weight prints made on Off-White, Lustre silk mat finish paper, ready to frame. For some really beautiful and eiciting worts of the male figure at its best fill out the coupon below, or use a plain piece of paper, as long as your signature is on it. Custom art from your favorite photo, price on request. What could be more personal than an original oil painting of that special someone, painted by Mr. Houston. W KftKStadto ^RT 3 BOX 3» - BRENHAM, TEXAS 77B33 , th drawing in aiw 8 X 10 # $7.00 Q Add 50t postage Enckxad pi™ And . («h, chad., M.O.)" All mtfdwdita *>fpr) paompri, via mbM, tint clou moll. rordfri ajirancy ocenptad, EneloM vrtra far sir moll, bnipi, of ■facial nam- Tjllftj.ratlDnol ehado tatwdalarvi lorelnitjnca. Pt™« print balow: dom, special nights, special guys, special gals, and happiness; all accompanied on guitar. Vito Rus- so, the MX. and Jean DeVente, the Lesbian 'Grand Marshall' of the parade, introduced the various acts, along with assorted announcements in-between. At this point, there was quite a lot of commotion on stage. Some kind of tussle was going on behind the huge amplifiers. Itseems that Sylvia, a well-known trans vestite from STAR, (StreetTrans- vestites Action Revolution) was trying to get to the microphone. She was stopped by parade mar- shails and sent back into the audience. The show went on, but not without another interruption from Sylvia, this time trying to scaie the front of the stage, only to be beaten back by marshalls, all of whom you must understand, were gay. By this time a large portion of the audience knew something was wrong, and wanted to know what it was. Well, I wanted to know too. I left my front row seat, and made my way around to the side of the stage. As I was doing this, more entertainment was being quickly brought on stage to keep things going. During the performance of this group, Sylvia tried twice again, unsuccessfully tried twice again, unsuccessfully to reach the microphone. The audience was beginning to stir. Shortly after the group finished, the MC decided to clue people in on what was going on. "It seems," he said, "that Sylvia, a member of STAR, was objecting that there were no transvestites on stage to represent them." "quite the contrary," Vito said, "for right here on our stage we have the beautiful Bebe Scarpi." Bebe stood up for a bow. She certainly was lovely, very pretty, and very quiet. The audience, though a bit confused^ quieted down and the show went on. Suddently, Sylvia was on stage, fighting furiously with the Grand Marshall, still trying to get to the microphone. Now, from all over the park came shouts of "Let her speak!" along with, "Who's that freak?" "Is it a boy Once again, Sylvia was defeated and the show went on, amidst the bedlam from the audience. Looking around, I noticed Sylvia hadn't given up. Hair disheveled, jumpsuit torn, she was organizing a "flying-wedge" of people from STAR, to push their way up the stage-side vamp. Parade marshalls, were sitting up and down the whole Length of the ramp, and were very surprised when the charge started: It looked as if Sylvia might succeed in her climb, but, in a flash, like Zevs atop Mount Olympus, the Grand Marshall appeared at the head of the ramp, pointing her finger and bellowing, "STAY!" And stay they did, The marshalls linked arms and beat back the attack. More music. More interruptions from Sylvia. More people from the audience screaming for her to be heard. Little squables breaking out everywhere. People taking sides. Another fight near the stage ramp. This time a few people really hurt, kicked and beaten on the ground. It was everything I could do to protect myself. I was in a state of shock. All I could keep shouting to the people fighting was, "You're all gay! You're all gay! Stop!" Finally, having no other choice, the officials on stage announced Page 5
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